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Record is no breeze for wind car

PUBLISHED: 15:56 19 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:57 02 June 2010

A team hoping to draw attention to climate change by breaking a world record has blamed global warming for its failure.

Two explorers, including the man behind landmark wind turbines in Norfolk, were hoping to set a new land-speed record for a wind-powered vehicle.

A team hoping to draw attention to climate change by breaking a world record has blamed global warming for its failure.

Two explorers, including the man behind landmark wind turbines in Norfolk, were hoping to set a new land-speed record for a wind-powered vehicle.

Dale Vince and Richard Jenkins wanted their carbon neutral vehicle, Greenbird, to beat the record of 116mph (187kmph) at Lake LeFroy in Western Australia. But heavy rain in the area, which is usually dry at this time of year, and no wind forced the team to eventually give up.

Mr Vince said: “It's an irony not lost on us when Greenbird is intended to show how the world might be getting around when fossil fuels run out. The changes that fossil fuels are causing to our climate right now, appears to be the very thing that has stopped us.

“In the next 20 years, I firmly believe wind power will be our main energy source and wind-powered cars no longer be stuff of dreams.”

The Greenbird combines aircraft technology with Formula 1 speeds and is the culmination of 10 years of hard work by Mr Vince, managing director of Ecotricity - the firm which runs two turbines at Swaffham and who is battling to get two turbines at Shipdham, near Dereham - and engineer Richard Jenkins.

Mr Vince became involved in the Greenbird project through his dedication to wind power technology. His pioneering power company Ecotricity has been building wind turbines and selling green electricity across the country since 1996.

The vehicle is a land yacht which relies on solid sails like an aircraft wing. Vertical sail pushes the vehicle forward in the same way that air flows over an aircraft's horizontal wing and pushes the aircraft up. This force enables the craft to travel between four to six times the real wind speed, depending on the surface traction.

The team will now attempt the world ice yacht speed record in 2009.

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