Environmental solutions


With Gaiasdream I’m continuing with these basic concepts and have been able to improve upon each.

Her main construction material is wood – 82% by weight. It has all be sourced form sustainable plantations in Queensland.

Wood is both a renewable resource and has many benefits over modern construction materials. I used it for all the main components of Gaiasdream, even the 22.2m wing mast.

Her main engine runs on what for me is now a very familiar veggie oil system, with one little high-tech change – the switch from start-up fuel to veggie oil is automatic. You turn the engine on, it runs on diesel until up to running temperature and then automatically switches over to veggie oil. When you turn the engine off, the reverse happens – the engine switches back to diesel and then, after a set time, automatically shuts down, ready to start on diesel again.

Electricity comes from 600watts of solar panels and I will very soon be adding a 300watt silent wind generator. Hot water comes from the main engine and I am planning to add a solar hot water system in the near future.

The stove is partly home made and runs on 95% grain alcohol. It consists of standard ethanol burners installed in an old stove designed for kerosene. It has an external tank, mounted away from the galley so you can safely top it up while the stove is in operation. It has a much better heat output than the stove I installed in 2041, as good as a marine gas stove.

For water I have in installed a rainwater collection system, which catches water from the roof of the bridge deck. After filtering it goes into the boat’s main water tank. 1mm of rain equals about 11 litres of water in the tanks. At sea we need merely to wait for the roof to be rinsed clean of any salt and then direct the water to the tanks.

Lastly, our tender has a 3hp outboard which runs on 50% ethanol. It is a standard outboard and required no modifications. My father used to run a laboratory back home in the Netherlands and his students found out that petrol engines with carburettors could be safely run on up to 50% ethanol, without harm to the engines or a need for modifications. For a long time my father would only fill his tank half full at the petrol station and then to the university to fill the other half with ethanol.


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