London, August 21 : Two British men are gearing up to try to beat the world land-speed record of 116mph for a wind-powered vehicle. Eco-entrepreneur Dale Vince and engineer Richard Jenkins, already in Australia preparing their attempt on the record, have revealed that their British-designed and built craft called Greenbird is carbon-neutral.
The pair said that they were following in the footsteps of Donald Campbell, who used several cars and boats named Bluebird to break speed records.
"Campbell did it with the prevalent fuel of the day - we're doing it with the prevalent fuel of tomorrow," the BBC quoted Vince as saying.
"Donald Campbell had his massive cubic capacity engines and energy dense fossil fuels - we have just the wind.
"But the wind will still be here in 50 or 100 years time - the age of renewables has been a long time coming (back) but will endure," he added.
The team describes the Greenbird as a land yacht that relies on solid sails like an aircraft wing.
Just like air flows over an aircraft's horizontal wing and pushes the aircraft up, they say, the flow of air over the Greenbird's vertical sail pushes the vehicle forward.
According to them, the force helps the craft to travel between four to six times the real wind speed, depending on the surface traction.
Vince said that he was "eight out of 10 confident" of breaking the record.
He and his team members are presently testing the vehicle, and preparing for the record run.
Unseasonal weather is said to have delayed initial trials.
"We need the weather to come right. The lake is wet at the moment and it should be dry this time of year and we need the wind window which is coming any day now," said Vince.
"The lake is 500 sq km and is a salt lake so it's very flat and we can sail in any direction. It has some good wind as well but it's really the space we need," he added.
He and his colleagues are also planning to make a challenge on the Ice World Speed Record, again using wind power alone.
Vince revealed that the experts who helped create Greenbird were also working on a less exotic wind-powered vehicle that could be used for domestic journeys.
"Wind-powered cars are the way of the future. We're going to have our prototype on the road in December," he said.