The Florida-based Windhunter Corporation is taking a novel approach to producing mass quantities of hydrogen by setting sail for the high seas. According to the Windhunter website, they are researching and developing large maritime ships that carry various configurations of wind turbines on them and then chase the prevailing winds wherever they happen to be the strongest.
The wind turbines will generate electricity, which will then be used to electrolyze seawater into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen will be captured and then transported by either boat or airplane ashore, while the windhunter vessel continues to chase the fastest moving air the ocean has to offer at the time.
One of the big advantages of these wind chasing vessels over stationary wind turbines on land is that the ships can seek out the highest winds and position itself for maximum output. The company also states that damage to birds or bats from the wind turbine blades would be negligible since the ships can be moved away from migratory flyways at certain times a year. This should also not be an issue since the “Bird Cuisinart” issue is also largely an urban eco myth.
Though the Windhunter vessel is 1,400 feet tall, the ship is also wide to increase stability and the wind turbines can be folded downwards onto the deck as needed such as in a storm situation. The wind chasing ship is being built to achieve an output of 45 megawatts or enough energy to supply 13,000 homes.
Because this company is based in Florida, one has to wonder whether there are any plans to deploy such a vessel during hurricane season in Gulf? No word yet, on this one, however. If the prototype for this vessel goes over well, I can just imagine future development of a land-based version called the “Storm Chaser” where tornado hunters will position mobile wind turbines in the vicinity of supercells for maximum output. Then again, maybe I’m just full of hot air.