Winds of Change
15 Jun 2009
The Ecotricity Greenbird, driven by UK engineer Richard Jenkins, has recently set a new world land speed record for wind-powered vehicles.
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The Ecotricity Greenbird, driven by UK engineer Richard Jenkins, has recently set a new world land speed record for wind-powered vehicles. Storming past the previous achievement of 116 miles per hour ñ set ten years ago by American driver Bob Schumacher in the Iron Duck ñ the Greenbird reached a staggering 126.2 miles per hour.
The vehicle is driven purely by the flow of air over its vertical sail. It achieves the remarkable speeds thanks to an advanced design, which uses a combination of aviation and Formula 1 car technologies.
The Greenbird’s name echoes that of the Bluebird series of vehicles, in which Donald Campbell made history with his world records in the 1960s. Back then, fossil fuels were in plentiful supply and it was before the world realised the impact of their use
on the climate.
The Project partners, Ecotricity, are the UK’s largest independent green electricity company. They are proud of the symbolic significance of the record, at a time when we are no longer able to depend upon fossil fuels to meet our energy needs.
At the dawn of the Renewable Energy Age’, Ecotricity are keen to promote the potential of energy from wind sources to power electric cars of the future. ‘Half of all the oil produced today is burned in transportation’ and three quarters of that by road vehicles,’ says the company. ‘We have done a lot of pioneering work in the field of renewable energy and we thought we’d look at transport next.
‘How we get around post oil is one of the really big issues we have to face up to. We think the answer is wind powered cars! We love innovation and wind energy in all its forms so, Greenbird to us is a very serious message, wrapped in some-thing quite fun.’
The team’s goal, now that they have claimed the land speed record, is to go for the double and break the ice speed record too. They are planning to attempt this next winter.
Contact: Ecotricity, Axiom House,
Station Road, Stroud,
Gloucestershire, GL5 3AP
Richard Jenkins and the Ecotricity Greenbird
Photo: © Peter Lyons
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