tasmania-and-amc-apr-2006-021.jpgWell, quite frankly, the first vision of the freshly launched Trybrid will indeed turn a few heads. There is nothing quite like this boat, to be found afloat anywhere on our planet.

Our hope is that there will indeed be more to follow.The boat is based on a long thin, wave piercing center hull, with small trimaran outriggers, with broad bridge decks. At sea, with side cabins folded down, the Trybrid is an ocean coupe. At anchor, the Trybrid folds out like a circus. On a flat beach, the Trybrid is amphibious, with winch-me-up the beach, slide on tractor wheel, undercarriage. The decks and roof form a particularly expansive photovoltaic array. Down below, the engine room is full of hybrid propulsion, where 4 tonnes of batteries meet in the mix of photovoltaic boost meets progressively stepped in diesel generators. The solar arrays, the battery storage, and the biofueled diesel electrics all provide theimage_230.jpg composite grunt behind the propulsion. Two small electric motors in the outer hulls drive the boat to sub 10knot speeds with good efficiency, whilst one big central electric motor, kicks in with more grunt to propel the boat to a fuel efficient 20knot, top speed.


The Trybrid is not without some evolutionary forebears, all contributing some DNA to the design, however, no single predecessor embodies the three simple streams of design DNA embodied in this first prototype vessel. The 3 streams of ‘DNA’ feeding into the one idea are as follows. The first idea deploys the extrconstruction methods hereeme trimaran, based on Nigel Iren’s around the world, record holding concept, of the incredibly long thin hull, in a ‘stretched’ trimaran form. The second stream of design promotes in the extensive solar array boost, deployed in similar principle by Solar Sailor. The third idea calls for the hybrid power pack, seeing some recent popularity in new hybrid cars, but which has been common in locomotives and larger shipping for decades.

The 33.5 prototype Trybrid will first see a smaller 8-9m model made and trialed in 2008. For a more detail reading about the dimensions and click here for Trybrid’s size, shape and performance parameters.

The boat will be built is in simple, renewable materials, using epoxy and fiberglass/carbon over lightweight, strip planked plantation timbers. It is likely that the first prototype will be built in Asia, making the technology of this boat reproducible anywhere around the developing world. Read more about the construction methodology here.

The expansive photovoltaic arrays across the roof decks of Trybrid provide a sizeable boost to Trybrid’s overall efficiency. The panels will quickly fill the batteries with some 120 square meters of coverage, similar in size to a suburban homes footprint, but with 16,000 watts of output, there is enough electricity made to power 8 homes. This will provide all the power needed for speeds below 6knots, plus storing boost power in the 4 tones of batteries. On the beach, in post disaster scenario, the solar arrays will be able to power useful desalination output. Read more about the photovoltaic’s here.

One of the many unusual features of this prototype boat is its ability to ‘fold-out’ at anchor, and reciprocally, ‘tuck-away’ when passage making. This is achieved by having all side cabins built to only half height, like some caravans, where the roof becomes a ‘pop-top’ when the cabin (or workshop/clinic) is in use, in port. There is a another purpose behind the pop-tops, in as much as they also double as large solar arrays, and can be declined towards the sun for added efficiency. Read more about the pop-top cabins here.

The long thin hull is the key feature of Trybrid’s form. This type of hull still holds the around the world, motorized record in Nigel Irens Cable and Wireless Adventurer, and in the more recent challenger, Earthrace. cable_and_wireless1.jpgThere is an interesting analysis of fuel use consumption from 3 typical, 5 tonne motor boats, and the clear winner on fuel efficiency is the ILAN, or ‘incredibly long and narrow’ hull. Read more about this naval architectural review on the long thin hull form here.

The Trybrid power pack is centers around a diesel electric core, boosted by photovoltaics, and battery stored electricity. But beyond these simple, best of breed, off the shelf technologies, we arrange and subdivide the systems so we can extract maximum fuel efficiency in a range of operational conditions, We do this by using more than one electric generator, so we step in added, ‘grunt’ only when needed, an in so doing, keep the diesel engines operating in ‘their zone’ of maximum efficiency. We do the same with the electric motors, where it is impossible to have a propeller operate efficiently at a range of speeds, so we respond by having the more powerful central electric motor kick in at higher speeds, whilst smaller, retractable engines and props in the outer hulls look after lower speeds and maneuverability. Read more about the Trybrid power pack here.

How does a hybrid diesel electric drive reduce fuel consumption? There has been increasing research into the deployment of the newer common rail diesels in combination 0721-0001e-cl-section.jpgwith very efficient brushless motors and generators. When there are two stages, or step ups of electric motors, for two different speed ranges, and similar step ups in diesel gensets, and they are controlled by improved software, you get some intersting results, and to read more about it click here for an answer to why diesel electric dives save fuel.

The amphibious potential for Trybrid is one of the project’s most interesting capacities.5513.jpg

Like a cardboard tube, the long thin central hull has a certain inbuilt rigidity. It’s also narrow enough, (at not much wider than a man’s arm span), to accept axle tubes inbuilt into bulkheads. These axle tubes then allow water inflated tractor wheels to be slid onto axle splines, and the boat slowly winched up a gentle, hard sand beach, or boat ramp, using its own anchor winch and cable for crawling propulsion. In an aid work application, this self-beaching capacity means we can take the clinic/workshops right to where it is needed most, on land, even if roads and wharfs have been destroyed. With lot of solar capacity onboard, the emergency desalination capacity is also attractive. The Trybrid is as much about a planning for a climate changed world, as it is about CO2 reduction. Read more about Trybrid’s amphibious capacity here.