Category: sustainability

Time for a Closer Look at Offshore Wind Turbines

Offshore wind is inching closer to reality off the New Jersey coast. The public review process is underway and the big question is: “Will offshore wind make it past the public opinion barrier?” The advantages of offshore wind are most tightly focused to what now is becoming a screaming need to reduce carbon emissions. Wind… Read more »

Sailing to the Future

The 29-day voyage of the “Grain de Sail” from Saint Malo, France to New York, New York, completed on December 16, 2020, was not publicized in the New York Times, USA Today, or any other big-name tabloids. Its cargo of about 14,000 bottles of wine has yet to hit the menus of New York restaurants… Read more »

Hey UN! Here is your Golden Opportunity for Global Relevance

    Earlier this week the United Nations issued the “2020 World Economic Situations and Prospects report,” a high-level annual report. It is chock full of economic information collected by just about every United Nations Economic analysis body. The report has a foreword by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.  In it, he stresses the importance of… Read more »

SurfWEC to Develop Utility Level Wave Power

Martin & Ottaway has formed a new company, SurfWEC LLC, that will develop Wave Energy Converters (“WECs”) using patented features that are expected to increase energy recovery rates by an order of magnitude over legacy WEC systems. SurfWEC has broken through the barriers holding back wave energy recovery technologies from successfully and economically harnessing power… Read more »

Thoughts on Convoying Fuel Efficiencies

The Maxi Taxi concept describes the advantages of convoying in saving fuel during highway travel. Cars that closely follow each other can achieve impressive reductions in total air drag. Air drag is the leading overall drag component at higher speeds and therefore represents the lion’s share of a car’s fuel consumption at speed. Air drag… Read more »

AD 1522 to 2015, A Really Big Step for Mankind

In 1522 a sailing vessel, named the Victoria, arrived in Spain and thereby completed the first circumnavigation of Earth using only sustainable power (wind). This voyage is generally called Magellan’s voyage, but the person who completed the voyage in command was Juan Sebastian Elcano.   Since that time, humans have circumnavigated Earth in any number… Read more »

Solar Conestogas

Powering cars with solar cells installed on the car is an intriguing proposition, but unless we drive for very high efficiencies with resulting uncomfortable and impractical cars such as solar racers, it will probably not be possible to power cars with solar cells to the extent that we power cars with chemical fuels such as… Read more »

Are Five Foot Wide Maxi Taxi Roads The End Of Driving Fun?

Some people pondering five foot wide roads (or, at best, roads a little wider than 60 inches) populated with Maxi Taxis may think it would spell the end of driver excitement. Personally, having owned a Triumph Spitfire (57 inches wide) and always having coveted the original Mini Coopers  (55 inches wide), I doubt that is actually the… Read more »

Hyperloop and Maxi Taxi

In our office, we often discuss the pros and cons of new tech.  So when Elon Musk’s new Hyperloop preliminary design study came out on Monday, it was an obvious source of discussion. While some of us (*cough* Rik) have some doubts about the Hyperloop concept, we can agree that a very attractive design could… Read more »

What Is The Cost Of Efficient Transportation? (Maxi Taxi 5)

Not too long ago only a small proportion of humanity had access to vast resources (which actually equates to access to energy). Although the very rich could travel by ocean liner between continents, poorer people’s action radii were very much smaller. For most of humanity’s existence a human might be tied to a very small… Read more »

How Safe Is Automated Driving? (Maxi Taxi 4)

Automated driving is central to the Maxi Taxi concept. Although the Maxi Taxi ferry concept does not specifically require full automated driving, the ferry concept, at a minimum, will use automated parking type technology to load and unload the ferries automatically with human drivers on public roads. However, the Maxi Taxi concept will really come into… Read more »

Will That Five Foot Width Work? (Maxi Taxi 3)

This is our third blog on the Maxi Taxi concept, for earlier blogs on Maxi Taxi go to: Containerizing People Transportation (Maxi Taxi 1) What Needs to be Standardized? (Maxi Taxi 2) The Maxi Taxi concept has chosen five feet as the working standardization width for the system, which would result in road lane widths… Read more »

The Really Big Picture

The April issue of (mt), the SNAME house magazine, will feature an article by Dr. Wayne Neu, professor of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering at Virginia Tech. Dr. Neu updated the classic 1950’s Gabrielli – von Karman plot using more recent vehicle data collected by the students in one of his classes. The Gabrielli – von… Read more »

What Needs To Be Standardized? (Maxi Taxi 2)

In the Maxi Taxi 1 blog we introduced the Maxi Taxi concept as a thought experiment to explore how people transportation can be made to be more efficient by whole system design. The Maxi Taxi is a passenger transportation concept that, through standardization, aims to rapidly increase system efficiencies. System efficiencies are different from component… Read more »

Containerizing People Transportation (Maxi Taxi 1)

We call this peculiar car a Maxi Taxi. Maxi Taxis are just a concept that was turned into this computer model by our intern Zach Davis (Harry Ottaway’s grandson!), but they are an interesting concept and have features that are pretty much available today. The Maxi Taxi concept rests on the success of containerization and… Read more »

Let The Sun Shine On The Delaware

M&O covers quite a range of waterfronts. Some we only visit occasionally (for example, Bahia Blanca, Argentina we visit no more than about once a decade) but others we visit on an almost daily basis. The Delaware River ports are home turf for us, but every now and then we need to check the internet… Read more »