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Renewable energies : Watt&Sea hydro generators and the Vendée Globe

JAN 23, 2014

For a participant in the Vendée Globe, the ultimate extreme race, reducing the weight of one’s yacht by a few hundred kilos all adds to the chances of attaining the end goal: victory!

This was Yannick Bestaven’s reasoning, back in 2008, when he installed the first prototype hydro generator onboard his 60-footer before setting off on this legendary round-the-world sailing race.

Last time this race was staged, 19 of the 20 participants were using this 100% green energy source to produce their electricity and cut their fuel requirements. A comprehensive victory for this young company based in La Rochelle (France).

By using the yacht’s speed to turn a submerged propeller, Watt&Sea provides a simple, high-performance and reliable solution to energy self-sufficiency. As a result, most of the participants in last year’s Vendée Globe reduced their fuel consumption from 400 L to 50 L. Less weight to carry, significant improvement in speed, but above all a guarantee of complete energy supply security during ocean racing!

«In the last race, 19 of the 20 participants were using this 100% green energy source to produce their electricity and cut their fuel requirements.»

For both the racing and cruiser versions, electricity production starts when the yacht reaches 3 knots (around 3.45 mph). The Watt&Sea hydro generator therefore produces up to 100% of a yacht’s electrical needs (500 W or 40 A in 12 V). In comparison, wind turbines and solar panels only provide 20%!

Hydro generators are currently sold in more than 30 countries. The dynamic young company has just launched a new range aimed specifically at pleasure craft.

An innovative hydro generator
In close collaboration with Leroy-Somer, Watt&Sea developed a generator based on synchronous technology with a variable pitch propeller for the hydro part, with the aim of converting ocean energy into electricity. Using components supplied by Watt&Sea, Leroy-Somer delivered two subassemblies, the rotating part (rotor) and the fixed part (stator) which Watt&Sea integrated into its end product. With compact dimensions and high specific output power, this solution has the advantage of producing a maximum amount of electricity while barely affecting the yacht’s performance.
With such a strong partnership, Watt&Sea is on course to win many more trophies!

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