Tag Archives: Aeromodeller II

What Do a Tidal Turbine and an Airship Have in Common?

Peter Lobner

Orbital Marine Power (https://orbitalmarine.com) is developing a large, moored tidal turbine, the O2, which they claim is the most powerful tidal turbine in the world. The O2 soon will be deployed at sea off the Orkney Islands, northeast of Scotland. 

Rendering of the O2 tidal turbine. Source: Orbital Marine Power
Side view of the O2 tidal turbine. Source: Orbital Marine Power

Key features of the O2 tidal turbine are:

  • 74 meter (243 ft) tubular steel hull with fore and aft mooring connections.
  • Hydraulically-actuated steel legs extending from the hull support the generator nacelles and rotors that are deployed underwater after the hull has been moored using a four-point mooring system.
  • Two 20 meter (65.6 ft) diameter, 2-bladed rotors give the O2 more than 600 m2 (6,458 ft2) of swept area to capture flowing tidal energy.
  • Blade pitch control enables bi-directional operation of the turbines with the hull in a fixed moored position (the hull doesn’t swing with the tide).
  • Each rotor drives a 1 MWe generator housed in the nacelle.
  • Power is delivered to shore by a submarine cable.

Here are three short videos that will give you a quick introduction to this remarkable machine:

O2 tidal turbine being moved in the shipyard in March 2021, prior to launch. The rotors are not yet attached to the nacelles. Source: Orbital Marine Power video screenshot
O2 with the rotors attached in the water, under tow. Source: Orbital Marine Power

If the O2 demonstration proves to be successful, Orbital Marine Power plans to develop and deploy larger tidal turbines in the future.

So, what does the O2 tidal turbine have in common with an airship?  The Aeromodeller II airship design developed by Belgian engineer Lieven Standaert implements an airborne mooring as a means to generate power using two wind turbines while remaining aloft.

Ground anchor enables propellers to function as wind turbines for power generation while tethered.
Source: Inhabit.com
Rendering of Aeromodeller II shown tethered. Source: www.aeromodeller2.be

Both the O2 tidal turbine and the Aeromodeller II airship are buoyant vehicles in their respective media (water and air, respectively) and both are designed to extract power from that medium while moored (or tethered).  Important differences are that the O2 tidal turbine is permanently moored and supplies power to users on land.  The Aeromodeller II drops its anchor periodically to recharge its own power system while tethered and then raises its anchor to continue its journey. You’ll find more information on the Aeromodeller II airship in my separate article here:  https://lynceans.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Aeromodeller-2-converted1.pdf

Modern Airships – Part 3

Peter Lobner, updated 12 August 2023 (post-Rev. 3)

1. Introduction

“Modern Airships” is a three-part document that contains an overview of modern airship technology in Part 1 and links in Parts 1, 2 and 3 to more than 240 individual articles on historic and advanced airship designs.  This is Part 3.  Here are the links to the other two parts:

You’ll find a consolidated Table of Contents for all three parts at the following link.  This should help you navigate the large volume of material in the three documents.

  • Consolidated TOC: Later

Modern Airships – Part 3 begins with a summary table identifying the airship concepts addressed in this part, and concludes by providing links to 51 individual articles on these airship concepts. A downloadable pdf copy of Part 3 is available here:

If you have any comments or wish to identify errors in these documents, please send me an e-mail to:  [email protected].

I hope you’ll find the Modern Airships series to be informative, useful, and different from any other single document on this subject.

Best regards,

Peter Lobner

12 August 2023

Record of revisions to Part 3

  • Original Modern Airships post, 26 August 2016: addressed 14 airships in a single post.
  • Expanded the Modern Airships post and split it into three parts, 18 August 2019: Part 3 included 32 linked articles.
  • Part 3, Revision 1, 21 December 2020: Added 1 new article on Walden Aerospace. Part 3 now had 33 articles
  • Part 3, Revision 2, 8 February 2022: Added 14 new articles, moved over and updated the Halo article from Part 1 and updated 11 of the original articles. Part 3 now had 48 articles.
  • Part 3, Revision 3, 18 March 2022: Added 1 new article, reorganized the graphic table and updated 22 of the original articles. With this revision, all Part 3 linked articles have been updated in February or March 2022. Part 3 now has 49 articles.

Since Rev. 3 was posted, the following additions and updates have been made in Part 3.

New articles:

  • AirYacht SA (24 May 2022)
  • WARPA TeraDrone (9 September 2022)

Updated articles:

  • Walden Aerospace / LTAS – Exotic hybrid airship concepts (12 August 2023)

2. Specific airship concepts in Part 3

The airships described in Modern Airships – Part 3 are relatively exotic concepts in comparison to the more utilitarian and heavy-lift airships that dominate Parts 1 and 2.  Many of the airship concepts in Part 3 are designed for operation with very low or zero carbon emissions.  

The airship design concepts reviewed in Modern Airships – Part 3 are summarized in the following set of graphic tables.  I’ve grouped these airship concepts based on their applications rather than on their design / type (as in Parts 1 and 2) because those details sometimes are difficult to determine when few graphics and limited descriptions are available.  

  • Cargo & multi-purpose airships
  • Mass transportation airships
  • Flying hotel airships
  • Touring airships
  • Flying yacht airships
  • Autonomous special purpose airships
  • Personal airships
  • Thermal (hot air) airships
  • Biomimetic airships
  • Rocket / airship (Rockoon) hybrids

Within each category, each page of the table is titled with the name of the category and is numbered (P3.x), where P3 = Modern Airships – Part 3 and x = the sequential number of the page in that category.  For example, “Flying hotel airships (P3.2)” is the page title for the second page in the “Flying hotel airships” category in Part 3.  Within each category, the airships are listed in an approximate chronological order.

Except for a few sub-scale models, none of the airship concepts in Part 3 have flown.  A few of these airships look good as concepts, but may be impossible to build.  Nonetheless, all of these relatively exotic concepts point toward an airship future that will benefit from the great creativity expressed by these designers.

Links to the individual Part 3 articles on these airships are provided in Section 3.  Some individual articles cover more than one particular airship.

3. Links to the individual articles

The following links will take you to 49 individual articles.  

Note that a few of these articles address more than one airship design concept from the same designer and these airship concepts may be in different categories (i.e., Avalon Airships, Bauhaus Luftfahrt, Walden Aerospace). Each design concept is listed separately in the above graphic tables and in the following index. The links listed below will take you to the same article.

Cargo & multi-purpose airships

Mass transportation airships:

Flying hotel airships:

Touring airships:

Flying yacht airships:

Remotely-piloted special purpose airships:

Personal airships:

Thermal (hot air) airships:

Biomimetic airships:

Rocket / airship hybrids: