Aircruise 2010

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Leading design and innovation company Seymourpowell unveils full details of its visionary transportation concept, Aircruse -- a giant, vertical airship powered by natural energy and designed to carry travellers in style and luxury.

For more information go to seymourpowell.com and http://blog.seymourpowell.com/2010/02/aircruise-a-giant-vertical-airship-powered-by-natural-energy-designed-to-carry-travellers-in-style-and-luxury-2/

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Aircruise 2010

  1. 1. PRESS RELEASE Seymourpowell introduces the Aircruise – a clipper in the cloudsVisionary concept work for Samsung C&T explores the future of travel and transportLondon, UK, 03 February 2010 - Leading design and innovation companySeymourpowell is today unveiling full details of its visionary transportation concept, Aircruise- a giant, vertical airship powered by natural energy and designed to carry travellers in styleand luxury.Originally a self-generated project, Seymourpowell’s Aircruise is the concept design for ahotel in the sky, with low passenger numbers and huge internal spaces offering room forliving, dining and relaxing, as well as scope for dramatic and inspirational public spaces. Theinitial design proposes a bar/lounge zone, four duplex apartments, a penthouse and fivesmaller apartments.The concept subsequently captured the imagination of Korean giant Samsung Constructionand Trading (C&T). Driven by its interest in new materials for building, Samsung C&Tappointed Seymourpowell to refine the idea and produce a detailed computer animation ofthe proposed experience to illustrate this visionary approach to the future. The video can beviewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bP15Vgt55GkSeymourpowell’s Aircruise concept presents an alternative take on the future, suggesting‘slow is the new fast’. Jeremy White, transport designer at Seymourpowell explains, “TheAircruise concept questions whether the future of luxury travel should be based aroundspace-constrained, resource hungry, and all too often stressful airline travel. A more serenetransport experience will appeal to people looking for a more reflective journey, where theexperience of travel itself is more important than getting from A to B quickly.”On Aircruise, it is the very abundance of time and space that defines the luxury experience.In a world where speed is an almost universal obsession, the idea of making a leisurelyjourney in comfort is a welcome contrast. White explains, “The physics of the airship requiresa gigantic volume of lifting gas, yet simultaneously demands a relatively limited amount ofweight. This allows for a potentially large amount of space with relatively few people onboard– a luxury for any traveller.”White added, “It’s a world cruise not limited to the ocean, offering instead the dream-likequality and absolute freedom of flight. Passengers can choose to dine thousands of feetabove a city, or take in the view whilst moving through the air over the ocean or a nationallandmark.”
  2. 2. Lifted by hydrogen and powered by solar energy, the Aircruise concept also has obviousenvironmental benefits. Seung Min Kim, design director at Samsung C&T commented, “Thiswas a dream concept project for us, helping to realise a future of sustainable buildingscombined with innovative and luxury lifestyle. In an age when environmental impact is a keyconsideration for architecture, we are keen to extend this vision of the future by searching forsolutions that can be realised by 2015 – the year that many futurologists foresee as theturning point for the future.”Although only a conceptual proposal, the transportation design team at Seymourpowelldeveloped a detailed and achievable technical specification for the craft. See below forfurther technical details. ***ENDS***For further information contact:Tim DuncanPR Global, SeymourpowellEmail: tim.duncan@seymourpowell.comTel: +44 (0) 20 7386 2369Full case study available at http://www.seymourpowell.com/#/case_studies/34/Images available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/seymourpowell/sets/72157623175424001/NOTES TO EDITORSProposed conceptual specifications for Aircruise as follows:From the docking rig at the base to the tip, the ship is 265 metres tall. Hydrogen, the lightestgas, is used as the lifting gas, and is capable of lifting around 1.2Kg per cubic metre ofvolume. Large PEM hydrogen fuel cells will provide on board power and some drinkingwater.The volume of the main envelope in the ship is calculated at 330,000 cubic metres, whichequals 396,000 Kg of available lift at sea level (1,000Kg = 1 Tonne (t)).Estimated weights:Primary structure, envelope and systems 270t (reference – around the same weight as anairbus A380 super jumbo, empty weight)Consumables, water, ballast etc 20tPeople (estimate max 100 people on board) 15t
  3. 3. Control deck and staff (20 staff) 6tBar/Lounge/communal zone fit out 15t4 Duplex apartments at 5t each 20tPenthouse apartment 12t5 smaller apartments at 4t each 20tTotal load factor 378tAvailable lift excess is therefore 18-20t or 20,000Kg of lift.Part of the renewed interest in airships derives from advances in materials, structures,stabilisation and clean propulsion technologies. Utilising composite frames and fabrications,lightweight semi flexible structures can be built at large scales. Although large, this isnevertheless a semi rigid ship, the primary tensioned structure consisting of 8 verticalcomposite lattices supporting four main flexible envelopes, which contain 330,000 cubicmetres of hydrogen gas. Lower decks are ‘hung’ off these primary supports.Each of the 4 external envelopes contains modular self-sealing lifting bags, minimising theincidence of bag rupture and ensuring safe flight even with a major external skin rupture.Automatic stability thrusters and altitude control using automatic adjustment of the gasdensity ensures a smooth ride compared to previous airships. Although still susceptible tostorms and very poor weather, advanced weather radar and weather prediction systemsallow the ship to route around major problems.Despite the perceived risks, hydrogen is used for its inherent lifting efficiency and as a powersource. Flexible photovoltaic (solar panel) cells cover the upper part of the envelope,augmenting the primary power generation, in this case from fuel cells. Large surface areaPEM fuel cells generate the primary power for on board systems and turn low speedcompressors located in the mid section of the ship. This compressed gas is ducted toprovide directional thrust and auto stabilisation. Compressed hydrogen stored in parts of themain structure provides fuel for longer ranges and by venting to the envelope or re-compressing these volumes, altitude stability is achieved.By combining the lifting gas and the fuel for thrust the overall weight of the ship can beminimised, whilst ensuring a silent, pollution free passage. Water vapour is harnessed toaugment on board potable water.The service ceiling is limited to 12,000 feet, given the attenuation of the atmosphere (thehotel is not pressurised) and the limits of gas expansion within the envelope. If however,
  4. 4. there are specific locations of interest en route, the ship can drop down to within a fewhundred feet of the ground.Cruising speed without tail or headwind is 100 – 150 Km/hr. This equates to journey timesthat are appropriate to the cruise experience: London to New York in 37 hours; Los Angelesto Shanghai in 90 hours.Six-flight crew will include two flight engineers, and will fly the ship in shifts, given the likelycruise durations. 14 support staff will run the hotel experience for the guest passengers.About Seymourpowell – the shape of things to comeAlready well established in transport design through large-scale projects for MidlandMainline and Bell Helicopters, Seymourpowell is also the group behind the world’s firsthydrogen fuel cell bike, ENV, developed for Intelligent Energy. Like ENV, Aircruise is anotherexample of the group’s method of working back from the future – conceiving ideas forproducts, behaviors and desires that could be, and then developing them for the presentday.Seymourpowell is one of the world’s leading design and innovation companies. Founded in1984 by Richard Seymour and Dick Powell, the London-based group of award-winningdesigners has produced some of the ‘milestone’ products of the last two decades. Thecompany is now part of the Loewy Group.Seymourpowell is currently 80 people, combining a design studio, research centre, materialslibrary and prototyping workshop.Seymourpowell has a unique holistic approach to design and innovation, which combines indepth experience and up to date intelligence about people, markets and businesses. Thecompany has the ability to forecast and interpret the vital implications of behaviors and workout future scenarios to give its clients the confidence and reassurance they are making theright decision.Seymourpowell is skilled in exploiting ideas that create real value and always look to moveclients forward creatively. Seymourpowell is not just a company of visionary thinkers, butfuture ‘doers’. Ultimately, Seymourpowell is about making things better: better for people,better for business and better for the world.Specialisms include design innovation, transportation design, ethnographic user research,
  5. 5. strategy and new product development (NPD), trends and forecasting, product design anddevelopment, 3D structural design and 2D graphic design

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