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Living the dream

Living the dream EnerSys is helping Dutch astronaut Wubbo Ockels to achieve his dream. Driven by his experience as a crew member on the space shuttle Challenger in 1985, he is building a sustainable energy sailing ship. Ecolution, due for completion in 2007, is the first of what is hoped will be a series of energy efficient vessels. The aim is to encourage people to consider the resources on our fragile planet and transform the way we use energy in the future. Our PowerSafe OPzV batteries will be a vital part of the energy storage system. As Ecolution moves through the water, two large and highly efficient carbon propellers generate electricity, which is stored in the batteries. A computer controlled energy management system advises, predicts and indicates the power usage and storage requirements. Between 3 and 5 days sailing provides enough energy for one month of comfortable living. The 25m long vessel is designed throughout for low maintenance. With no topping up required, the sealed VRLA gel technology batteries are an ideal energy storage solution. In addition, they offer a high cycle life and excellent deep discharge recovery. The batteries also have a secondary role, replacing the 13 tons of lead that would otherwise be required for ballast. Wubbo Ockels has also selected EnerSys Odyssey batteries for the electric powered mast, bow thrusters and anchor. Ecolution is easily crewed by two people and has accommodation for up to four passengers. It is the first ship to be built by Ecolutions BV in Groningen, northern Holland. The modular design ensures that energy systems can be easily upgraded in the future to take advantage of new developments. 'People of my generation would love to sail around the world but worry about the comfort, energy supply, safety and physical discomfort on board,' says Wubbo Ockels. 'Ecolution is the answer. It will also awaken interest in the need for a sustainable future and encourage a change in the way we use energy.'

Wubbo Ockels is a professor at the Delft Technology University of Groningen and co-founder of Ecolutions BV. Following the Challenger space shuttle flight he was inspired by a desire to preserve life on earth. This led him to promote innovative research in the field of sustainable development. His solar car Nuna won the solar challenge race in Austrailia and now, Ecolution is set to raise awareness further in self sustainability. EnerSys is proud to be supporting this innovative project.

Professor Wubbo Ockels (second left) visited the EnerSys stand at the Marine Equipment Trade Fair in Amsterdam to sign the battery supply contract. He was joined by Ed Colijn Managing Director EnerSys BV (left), Bert Schenk Commercial Manager EnerSys BV and Peter Lijnema Managing Director for Accuservice Lijnema (right)