Our team developed a feasibility study on the implementation of a Nature friendly water hydraulic steering system for vessels, mainly sail boats (Green WHS). Green WHS has the potential to be a new, sustainable and environmentally friendly solution for steering systems in vessels and to provide many environmental and economic benefits.

Our objective was, after conducting research on the different types of possible solutions to the problem of currently complicated and fragile mechanical steering systems, to focus our study on the construction of Hydraulic steering/operating system. Such systems are currently used in a wide range of motor-operated vessels, whereas for sailing boats such steering systems are not available on the market. The greatest challenge of all existing hydraulic steering systems is environmental – hydraulic oil leakage. Namely, 1 drop of hydraulic oil damages 150 l of drinking water and the cleaning of 1000kg of polluted soil costs around 2.000€.

Our team concluded, that the only viable solution in developing a breakthrough steering solution is using a hydraulic system with an environmentally friendly medium. With the Green WHS steering system hydraulic oil leakage is impossible, since the hydraulic medium in our case is water. A vast majority of the sailing boats currently sailing the world’s seas are being steered with a complex mechanical steering system. A great disadvantage is in the complexity of the currently standard built-in mechanical steering systems with steel-wiring, intertwined with chains and transfers that is hidden in the boat’s hull that connect the steering wheel and the rudder, that require a lot of compromises in design and placement of the solutions, which are at the same time very fragile and prone to malfunctions. Green WHS addresses all those problems and at the same time also addresses the environmental issue of ‘dumpster marinas’, where old abandoned sailing boats decompose and burden water ecosystems many years; only in Spain the communities are dealing with more than 10.000 such vessels (https://bit.ly/2MiypXb).

There are no currently known hydraulic steering system solutions for sailing boats available on the market. Currently available steering systems on the market are based on mechanic principles. We see our business opportunity in offering the market an advanced water hydraulic steering system for sailing boats that convinces the sailing boat manufacturers and buyers with its simplicity in terms of installation and maintenance requirements.

Project is cofinanced through the SME Instrument, part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme.