Harnessing Tornadoes: Local Inventor James Beyor

Cathy Salustri

Harnessing Tornadoes: Local Inventor James Beyor

Inventor James Beyor lives in Gulfport part of the year and in Maine the rest of the year.

Part-time Gulfport resident James Beyor believes water is the answer, and it looks like he knows how to prove himself right.

“It’s a fascinating endeavor,” he says of his invention, the Sea Drive. It’s not quite ready for prime time – Mr. Beyor still must run sea trials and get more funding to make his invention a reality – but, he says, he hopes it will be soon.

What, exactly, did he invent? Simply put, the retired engineer created a way to use water to move boats through the water.

“It [the SeaDrive] uses water,” he says. “It forces it through a spiral fin, called a helicoil. The faster it goes, the more water goes to the outside. It’s an all-hydrostatic method of propulsion.”

Why should this Gulfport-tested invention make a difference for boaters?

Three reasons: the environment, manatee, and sea bottom.

First, the Sea Drive has a smaller carbon footprint than conventional engines.

“It will use diesel,” he says, “but it will use half the fuel of a conventional power boat motor. Our goal is to make a Sea Drive system that will get eight miles to the gallon.”

Most power boaters consider fuel consumption in terms of gallons per hour.

Mr. Beyor’s also shooting for sustained speeds of 20 – 25 knots.

His invention will not waste energy, he says, and it can use solar power instead of diesel fuel. It will also throw a minimal stern wake, weigh less than a conventional engine, and with three moving parts, have less potential to break.

Reasone two and three: his invention also has no propeller, meaning it won’t cut manatees and it also won’t damage coral or sea grass.

“It won’t harm manatee, and it won’t disturb the shoreline,” he says.

Right now, he’s preparing for sea trials in Islamorada next month, and when he gets enough funding, he hopes to start manufacturing the Sea Drive in Gulfport. He’s also working on creating a center keel for a sailboat, one with no drag coefficient.

He says his background as a pilot helped him created the Sea Drive.

“I’m a pilot, and I understand the vortex coming off wings of a plane,” he says.

“In theory I want to harness the power of a tornado,” he says with a serious smile. “The power of a waterspout.”

Contact Cathy Salustri at CathySalustri@theGabber.com.