Gerry Fitz – High Speed Fuel Efficient Ferries
December 5, 2008 @ 12:00 am EST
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Friday morning’s speaker was Gerry Fitzpatrick. Gerry is a principal in SES, a company that has ownership in a new ship technology that would not only go fast (excess of 50 MPH) but would do so using considerably less fuel than a conventional vessel. Getting vessels to go fast has been done in the past at the cost of using engines with enormous horsepower, but that means using a lot of fuel. Fitzpatrick’s design actually uses less than the conventionally powered ships.
Fitzpatrick is well versed in the technology and provided an interesting and understandable explanation of how it would work. The vessel is a version of “surface effect” technology. Surface Effect vessels operate on the principle that if the hull can be lifted out of the water than the drag of plowing through the water is greatly reduced. So while surface effect technology is not new, SES’s technology is new.
I asked Fitzpatrick to cite the advantages and features that make the design desirable. The problems caused by ship wakes are almost eliminated with his design. Another feature is that because the draft (how deep it sits in the water) is much less than conventional craft, it can navigate in shallower water.
We discussed the viability of using such a craft between Shoreham and New Haven. The answer was that the trip could be a short as 35 minutes, and it would work very well. But according to Fitzpatrick it’s greater benefit may be in using it to connect places along the Connecticut shore to Manhattan, or places along the Hudson Valley to Manhattan. Using larger ships of this design may be useful in moving trucks along the ports of the east coast and removing them from the I-95 corridor.
Under the same ownership is a company called Greenworld Marketing. The company sells lubricating oils derived from animal fats. Disposal of animal fats have been an on-going problem for the meat industry. Greenworld products make use of these oils and the end product is completely biodegradable when they are eventually discarded. The added benefits are that these oils are less expensive than petroleum oils and can be used in a broader array of applications than vegetation based products. Fitzpatrick says the products are already being well received.