21 Aug 2008 07:08:33
Carbon-neutral wind car to break record
A carbon-neutral wind-powered vehicle is to attempt to break a land-speed record on a flat salt lake in Western Australia.
The Greenbird, a project of Ecotricity managing director Dale Vince and engineer Richard Jenkins, will have to go faster than 116mph to break the wind vehicle land speed record.
Its vertical sail is built on the same principle as an aircraft's wing; but while the horizontal wing is designed to provide lift, the sail is made to push the vehicle forward. According to the Greenbird team, the vehicle can race at up to six times the speed of the wind.
But everything depends on the wind, and an unseasonal spell of weather has delayed initial trials, though a spokesman said the team would have an attempt at the record next week.
While a car that is so dependent on the weather is not practical for daily motoring, Mr Vince noted that its energy source will be here even once fossil fuels have run out.
"Cars of the future won't be running on fossil fuels, they will be running on renewable sources of energy like the wind. And with today's technology we can achieve incredible speeds, using only wind power," he told the Eastern Daily Press.
Ecotricity generates about a quarter of its energy from renewables and generates the remainder in a similar proportion from coal, nuclear and natural gas.