Cruise our A to Z or see HOME



The radio control rx and tx, jet drives and solar panel charge and sun tracking equipment


These are some of the main components of the 1:20 scale Elizabeth Swan technology demonstrator. We applied for part funding for this project from the Dti's TRIG marine technology competition. But, they said they were concerned about cleaning of the panels of salt caking at sea, as applied to ships. We have solved that problem, and were prepared to share that information in return for helping us with development costs. We considered the automatic furling and sun tracking to be an important feature for applications like cargo ships, cruise liners and ferries - not so the UK government. But then, we suppose that most governments around the world are in a pickle. Looking for ways to power ships to meet with the IMO's zero targets for 2100 without much modification of hulls and decks. The target for 2030 is a 40% reduction in GHG emissions. The Elizabeth Swann is a clean-sheet-of-paper design. Not flavour of the month with fleet operators, as well we appreciate. But then progress is sometimes financially painful. In the commercial world it is all about profits. Now, the planet gets a look in, but still has to wait for existing ships to depreciate. We have suggested a scrappage scheme is applied to induce ship operators to change out hulls earlier, as was applied to cars some years ago.







Under their identified “levels of ambition”, the IMOs initial Green House Gas (GHG) strategy envisages, a reduction in carbon intensity of international shipping (to reduce CO2 emissions per transport work, as an average across international shipping, by at least:


40% by 2030, pursuing efforts towards 


50% by 2040, and that total annual GHG emissions from international shipping should be reduced by at least 


70% by 2050 and then


100% by 2100 ( compared to 2008 levels)


We should not be complacent about the looming 2030 target. It is very easy to put things off; oh it will be okay if we leave it another couple of years. Somebody else will come up with the solution. Really! If that was true the EU (Horizon Europe) and UK would not be pumping billions of Euros into ZEWT research.


As we have amply demonstrated over more than three years joining consortiums and making applications for RI funding, SMEs do not get a look in on the large sums of money being gifted to large corporations, oddly enough, falling at the financial hurdle. Under EU rules,, you need to have money, to apply for money. Hence, the speed of clean shipping development rests on big shipping concerns and the universities, who work for those concerns. All of which have cash in the bank.


We imagine that huge fines will be imposed, and possibly ship confiscations in ports, in the event of persistent offenders. At that point, you can imagine a mad scramble to buy clean replacements. But, why leave it to the last minute, and why put your cargo and transport business at risk.


If we can get this far on a shoestring budget, the professionals can easily change over to zero emission technology. It may even be cheaper in the long run, with reduced fuel costs. Imagine that. Goods being delivered for less. It is probable that once fossil fuels are phased out, cars, homes and factories will be cheaper to operate. It should represent a giant leap in the direction of world peace. With food security next on the list of problems to be solved. Perhaps, with FCEVs, the oceans will be less acid, and fish stocks might slowly recover. Save for the toxic chemicals in the ocean. But hey, one solution at a time.





Marking out and cutting the wings for mounting the PV solar panels



We used a sheet of aluminium sandwich, with dense foam core, that is conveniently white on both sides. One 8' x 4' feet sheet was sufficient. The supplier was amazingly fast in delivering - should we need any more. Cutting this material takes a bit of getting used to. You'll need a large worktop or table. The aluminium is scored multiple times with a sharp steel blade, as in a Stanley, or other similar make of knife. It is better to work from one side only. Once through the first skin. apply downwards pressure to cut through the interlayer, and score the underside of the other alloy skin. Then bend, and the sheet will part cleanly. Be careful though, our tutor cut himself on the sharp alloy edges. And Stanley knives are very dangerous if misused. Wearing protective gloves is a good idea.





The parts layout of the 1:20th scale proof of concept model



With the three main parts cut: 2 x wings and 1 x deck area, we laid out the solar panels and other electronic and electrical parts to simulate the position on the completed model. Most satisfying - it all fits. In fact, the design had to be modified to allow fitment of standard size 18 volt solar panels. These are mostly used on cars and mobile homes to charge laptops and power TVs. The solar panels charge two lithium batteries, via a charge controller. In this picture you can also see the motors that rotate the solar wings to face the sun, and the sensors that measure the angle of insolation (incoming solar radition), to switch the motors on and off, as required for tracking purposes. You can also see the thrusters and speed controllers on the far right.





Fortunately, our directors were able to stretch to the purchase of the above components, by way of trustees loans to the Foundation. In addition, another charitable Trust felt compelled to provide workshop space at a Museum in Sussex, and cover the operational overheads. Lastly, a local model maker agreed to tutor home schooled students, without charge. This saved the Foundation approximately £16k. We'll still need to find funding for transport and events - as part of the ocean and climate awareness campaign.


We will modify the stand used for SeaVax exhibitions - and that will save a lot of time and money. Imagine the development cost if this were to be an MOD project.





Lithium batteries, solar charge controllers and panel servo motors



A view of the main solar harvesting, tracking, and motor propulsion components, with the vessel cruising toward you. There are 8 x 18 volt solar panels, providing some 144 watts peak energy. This is multiplied by around 12 hours of insolation, to provide 72 watts for continuous 24 hour cruising. At least, that is the theory, minus charging and conversion efficiency losses = 65 watts. It is possible to increase these figures, within the same power to displacement ratio. But we don't want a super-tuned craft. We want one that is possible to build economically at full size.




Wooden construction of the Egyptian themed Queen of the Nile     Test fitting an aluminium alloy section to the wooden frame of the Queen of the Nile



A development involving triple folds is testing for any metal worker. We wanted to be sure the lofting was accurate when worked, so made a narrow section as a template, or pattern, and to be sure it fitted well to the ultra lightweight wooden frame. At this stage it is an interference fit.





Queen of the river Nile, aluminium forming and folding - panel beating



The folds and returns have to carefully follow the pattern, the bends being that much harder to make over a wide length of metal. Alloy is much easier to form than steel. Though steel is far easier to join with welding. Aluminium welding requires TIG equipment, or a spool-on-gun MIG. The liners of the feeds cables may not be interchangeable, where steel or copper on alloy, produces a contaminated weld.





We are using solar tracking circuits and switching boards, one pair for each wing. Ultimately, the wings will be able to fold in high winds, when operated by a Raspberry Pi or Arduino micro processors. Switching to auto sun-tracking mode, in normal weather conditions.





     Wooden carving of the Queen of the Nile's helm    Forward chisel design helm: Queen of the Nile, Cleopatra themed river cruiser



Wooden carvings of the forward helm position to get an idea of complexity, showing the unique glass cockpit that rather unusually allows forward and downward ocean observation, useful for scientific surveys and wildlife viewing. We think this is a world first, design wise. Making the frames that hold the window sections may prove to be tricky. This rough carving was to 1:200 scale, just to see how the cabin might look, so not particularly accurate. It is though obvious, that the visibility is much enhanced over typical yacht helms, where you cannot look at what is right in front of the vessel. The other advantage to the design, is the increase in solar panel area, and shaded cooling in tropical locations.





Leo hard at work in the Museum workshops in Herstmonceux, Sussex



APRIL 24TH - Leo is seen here offering up an aluminium fold, to check for length in relation to the deck, which is covered in solar panels. Leo is interested in boat design and practical metal working skills. In the background you can see a solar catamaran design that was tested a long time ago, in the development of the present trimaran design. We are hoping to have this model ready for another local United Nations event in November. So, we have our work cut out.






Measuring and cutting the alloy panels for the Queen of the Nile



It is very important to measure carefully. We work to a tolerance of around 0.25mm. But in practice, where there are folds, 0.5mm is usually acceptable with a little fettling at the joins. In the background you can see a SWATH design that was tested well before the Elizabeth Swann design hit the drawing board. The submerged twin hull concept proved to have a higher drag than expected, and it was difficult to trim. The radio controlled model had four tanks that could be flooded or pumped out, for trim and ride height adjustment for different sea conditions.







Hull. The hull of any water vessel is the most important part of the boat or ship, onto which is attached the thrusters and rudders or other directional controls. It is the most important part of any design. On the full size vessel, the three hulls will be in 5083 marine grade alloy.


Superstructure. This frame, helms and cabins, provides a structure to attach the solar wings, camera, lights, and other components of our model. On the full size vessel, much of the superstructure will be in 5083 marine grade alloy.


Thrusters. The thrusters are electrically or hydraulically powered propellers used to maneuver the vehicle. There are almost always multiple thrusters to provide movement in multiple directions.





Where the prow on the Elizabeth Swann would carry the Cleopatra figurehead, the stern could be adorned with relief's and a mask in gold and Egyptian blue enamel, the artwork for which could be something like, or based on that above.



STERN  - Where the prow on the Elizabeth Swann would carry the Cleopatra figurehead, the stern could be adorned with relief's and a mask in gold and Egyptian blue enamel, the artwork for which could be something like, or based on that above. Click on the picture above to see how the Queen of the Nile's figurehead was developed from a 280 millimeter study to a 2.8 meter sculpture.





Solar Wings. As this model is powered with free energy from nature, it is autonomous, not needing shore based charging, or fossil fuels. Moveable wings allow the solar panels to change position to face the sun, so harvesting more free energy than a ship with fixed deck panels. In addition, having wings that fold, makes the model, and full size ship, safer in stormy conditions. Testing in winds will be one of the group of experiments, in a specially equipped test tank.


Pilot Controls. The surface controls can range from something that looks like the control room for a spaceship to something as simple as a smartphone, or an Xbox game controller. The surface controls provide a physical interface for the pilot to control the vehicle and a display of feedback from the vehicle including the camera view.

Camera. Since the vehicle travels over the water, and to be able to record performance or provide media streaming, we are including an onboard camera, which must be able to provide an image with low-latency.

Lights. The lights provide illumination for the camera (hence operator) to see in reduced light conditions.



JVH2: Jules Verne Hydrogen Trophy - World Challenge - Broaching humpback whales




Cruise our A to Z or see HOME




This website is Copyright © 2024 Cleaner Ocean Foundation. The rights of Cleaner Ocean Foundation to be identified as the author of these works have been asserted in accordance with section 77 and 78 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. This website and the associated Queen Of The Nile artworks and designs are Copyright © 2024 Cleaner Ocean Foundation.