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The Earthracer BioDiesel Experimental Racing Ship

Posted By G Monkie On January 24, 2009 @ 7:09 pm In G Living | 2 Comments

This is our first time covering the Earthracer, a racing ship using Biodiesel as fuel, as it attempts to circle the globe. We are covering it now because a friend and one of our first G Living Live host, Ziya Tong, did a show on the ship and its crew for the Canadian Knowledge Network.
Watch the Show

Revolutionary Design

Earthrace is a 78 foot wave piercing trimaran designed by New Zealand navel architect Craig Loomis Design Group and was built by Calibre Boats. To ensure the lowest weight and highest strength possible, the hull is constructed of carbon fiber with a top layer of Kevlar. Earthrace has concluded its sea trials and Skipper Pete Bethune is confident the boat is structurally sound to circumnavigate the globe.

Race Modifications

Earthrace was craned from the water January 23, 2007 for modifications in Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston is where Cummins Mercruiser, a primary sponsor of Earthrace is located. While there OSI applied a Teflon coating to the underside of the hull; this product is a substitute for typical anti-foul coatings, many of which are toxic. Also carbon propellers which are designed by a German, Air Fertigung Gnbh were fitted to Earthrace; they are 36 inches in diameter and feature three interchangeable blades that flex under pressure increasing speed and fuel efficiency. Phil Ross, from Calibre Boats, designed Kevlar socks that can be placed on the bow and sponsons with silicon during the race if these tips are to become damaged. Lastly the bow was converted to a fuel tank from a 2.5 ton fresh water ballast tank allowing Earthrace to hold another 800 gallons of biodeisel making the boats total fuel capacity 3800 gallons.

Not only is the vessel be in prime shape for the race but the crew has also been physically preparing; they have swapped beer for milk, naps for rugby, chai lattes for green tea, and fish and chips for tofu. The more they prepare the easier the waves of stress will be both physically and mentally during the race.


Biodiesel was formulated in 1895, chemically it is methyl ester, a renewable fuel made from plant oils and animal fats, it is biodegradable, and produces 78.5% lower carbon dioxide emissions than petroleum diesel. Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel that runs in any conventional, unmodified diesel engines and is a proven fuel with over 20 years of use in Europe and is now being explored as an alternative energy source within the United States.

If you have time, head over to Canada’s knowledgenetwork.ca and watch some of the show about the world we live in.

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