Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Vote by March 15th for sustainable Tokyo-based solar-sail cargo ship Greenheart - nominated for Royal Dutch Society of Engineers Prize

Your vote for Greenheart counts- Even in Dutch!
Via Jen Teeter in Kyoto, please check out the latest from Greenheart, a visionary renewable energy project based in Japan:
Creating the world’s first solar-sail cargo ship tailored to fit the needs of marginalized coastal communities is an idea that has propelled a small Tokyo-based international team closer to winning a major engineering prize far from home shore.

International NGO Greenheart Project is but one of 10 nominees for the Vernufteling Prize, to be awarded by the Koninklijk Instituut Van Ingenieurs (the Royal Dutch Society of Engineers), De Ingenieur and Technish Weeblad magazines, and a Dutch association of consulting engineers, NLingenieurs. The finalists were chosen from a field of more than forty submissions based on four criteria: innovation, economic worth, technological advancement, and social value.

The Vernufteling Prize is awarded annually to the initiative that is developing an imaginative project that promises to have a significant social and economic impact. Competitors were asked to respond to the challenge of creating ideas that both embody the social importance of innovative technology. The competition also seeks to make the important work of engineers more visible and widely recognized.

In line with the Dutch word Vernufteling, a portmanteau of inventor, engineer and a lot of creativity, entrants are encouraged to utilize a combination of new and existing technologies to solve real world problems. The winning project also must show potential to attract young people to technical studies and inspire them.

Over the past eight years, 83 engineering firms have submitted a total of 376 ideas, projects and innovative solutions to the Vernufteling Prize. In 2013 Arcadis took home the award for their innovative Winterhard Wissel which keeps railways free from snow and ice in the winter.

As Gert Schouwstra, a Dutch consultant at AA-Planadvies, who nominated Greenheart Project explained, “This project can really work. This year, we shall see how Greenheart will prove itself.”

Greenheart ships are customizable to meet the needs of the end user, whether they be used for fishing, fisheries monitoring, , ecotourism, cargo or passenger transport.

A unique feature is an open source platform which ensures that the end-users can have a say in how future ships are built without the financial and technical burdens of paying for patent rights.

Intentionally designed to be small scale at 32 meters in length and 220 tons, the vessels are designed to be easy to repair and service while maintaining the elegance of a yacht. Through its foldable mast/crane the ship can be maneuvered under bridges allowing greater upstream access, and lift items large and small on and off of shore, whether cargo, a haul of fish or even floating debris such as nets during an environmental cleanup mission.

Greenheart class ships promise to play a hefty role in restoring economic and ecological balance to transport in vulnerable and remote coastal communities, while setting an example that vessels powered by renewable energies are a practical alternative to fossil-fuel based fleets.

Voting by the general public is open from February 25th to March 15th through the Van Dag de Ingenieur (Day of the Engineer) website. After tallying up the votes, the Vernufteling prize winner will be announced on March19, 2014 at High Tech Campus Eindhoven.

To vote for Greenheart...

1. Go to this site:
2. Choose "AA Planadvies-Groen vrachtschip voor eilandengroep" from the pull down menu at the top of the page
3. Put in your name and email address
4. Click Stemmen (Vote).
*No need to check any of the boxes there (The page is in Dutch and English)
The Vernufteling Prize is awarded annually to the initiative that is developing an imaginative project that promises to have a significant social and economic impact. If we win it will give us the wide public exposure that will propel us to finishing the construction of the boat and getting more people interested in joining us in changing the paradigm of shipping and waterway transport.

Drawing upon, and endeavoring to be compatible with, the rich sailing traditions of coastal communities, Greenheart is working to radically amplify access to the oceanic commons and distant markets, while interacting with the environment in a more equitable and just manner. Greenheart is intentionally open source small-scaled, durable, adaptable, affordable, energy-efficient, solar/sail cargo ship that is easy to service and repair. It expects to rearrange the balance of opportunities among rich and poor by making safe, long distance sea travel accessible to marginalized and excluded sectors of the world population.


The Greenheart Project is an international non-profit organization founded in Tokyo, Japan with offices in Europe and Japan, preparing to build the world’s first fuel-free, container-ready commercial vessel. The small sail-solar ship is specially designed for use by communities in marginalized coastal communities and can serve as a mobile solar power station. It will be built in Chittagong, Bangladesh and launched as early as this year.

To learn more about Greenheart Project visit:
Pat Utley, Greenheart Director
P: +81-3-5606-9310

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