Regenerating propulsion system for a sailing yacht
Group Members
Ismael Iess Falcon, Douglas Goh, Tom Kenwright, Charlie North, Umberto Jose Varbaro
Supervisors
Dr Dominic Taunton, Dr Nicholas Townsend
Supporters
Mr Rory Carter (CompoTech)
Electric propulsion systems for sailing yachts have vast potential, yet very few yachts have chosen to part from traditional diesel or petrol engines. The benefits of electric systems include the generation of zero operating emissions, which is of ever-growing importance in a world where we are becoming ever more aware of our individual impacts on the planet. So, what is holding us back?

A joint regeneration and propulsion system has been designed to meet the requirements set-out by the project sponsor, as well as quantitatively comparing the performance of this system with those on the current market. The design has been completed through theoretical means of computational fluid dynamics and finite element analysis, as well as physical design, experimental testing, and manufacturing methods.

This has led to a system that can propel the Seascape 27 sailing yacht up to speeds of 7.5 knots or can be used to regenerate electricity within 1 hour of motoring requiring as little as 4 hours and 15 minutes of charging time.

Overall the project has produced a system designed to meet requirements based on experimental and analytical results, whilst also producing a versatile application that can aid in engineers design and development, in search for the perfect system for any vessel.
Close-up on the pod, showing the: pitching propeller; braking system for orientating the propeller upright when deploying/retracting; cooling system mounted to the rear of the motor
Overview of the retracting propulsion system capable of regenerating power to the batteries with key components highlighted, the batteries are mounted towards the bow
The concept demonstrator designed for fast prototyping and testing of propeller designs to monitor regeneration and propulsion characteristics, planned to be built for tow tank testing as a tool for design development
Exploded view of the pitching system. Operated by a miniature linear actuator to orient the propeller between 50 and -50 degrees, covering the full range of pitch angles for propulsion, regeneration, and reversing