Hi! My name's Sam Wilkes. I'm the host for this blog.
Its my intention to someday travel the world cheaply and without negatively impacting this great, green world. At the very least I want to reorient my life to live with as little carbon impact as possible. I've sort of decided that living on an electric sailboat and traveling around the world on it is as close as I can come to this as I can.
On a sailboat, the main source of locomotive power is of course wind -- a source of energy for humans for many thousands and thousands of years. Most sailors, though, cringe at the thought of depending only upon the wind, as the weather is fickle, and most fickle when there is danger. The idea of depending only upon the wind is actually considered fairly irresponsible in modern times; most boat owners depend upon diesel engines, which are loud, and, though fairly reliable, not entirely. My own experience with diesel engines is abysmal.
To this end, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to get around without buying and expending petrochemicals, how to live my life as carbon-free as I can, and how to be as good to the environment around me as I can while I still live primarily on land.
In researching these goals, I've arrived upon the following energy technologies to power my life as I travel:
- solar power for primary energy generation
- wind power for additional energy generation
- hydro power as a possibility for additional energy generation
- batteries for short term electricity storage
Solar, wind and hydro power are well understood today. Battery technology has significantly improved to the point that most short-term battery storage sufficient to drive a modest sailboat for a few hours on an electric engine is very achievable, and electric motors for sailboats is an expanding business.
Several sailors have now shown they can drive a 30-32 foot boat across an ocean utilizing solar power, lithium-ion batteries alone and an efficient electric motor. After a eight to ten hours sail on a good sunny day with solar panels deployed, or a overnight berth connected to marina power, this leaves them in good shape for the next day's sail.
This doesn't, however, really account for: what happens when stuck offshore with a blown sail and a storm that obscures the sun for days at a time? What happens in the event that the solar panels or wind generators are damaged?
So, for an additional margin of safety, I'm researching
- consumer scale hydrogen generation
- consumer scale hydrogen fuel cells for backup electricity generation
- consumer scale hydrogen storage
- consumer scale hydrogen safety technology
- consumer scale hydrogen transport
In addition, I'm very much interested in finding low-energy methods for seawater distillation in the interest of creating a source for hydrogen generation.