In the shipping industry, a lot less happens when it comes to sustainability than, for example, in the automotive industry. That is odd when you realise that more than eighty percent of all goods are shipped to the Netherlands. It makes the shipping industry more environmental polluting than, for example, the aviation industry. That’s why UT-students Jasper Admiraal and Hidde Pik decided over a year ago that something had to be done. It led to the establishment of the Solar Boat Twente. The student-team applies the latest technologies in a solar boat to show people that technologically a lot more is possible than people often think.
The Conrad Solar Boat Twente measures more than seven meter and weighs around 110 kilos. It max speed lies around 45 km/h, comparable to its fastest competitors. Such high speeds can only be made possible with hydrofoils. They are wings connected about half a meter beneath the hull and can lift the hull out of the water from a speed of 20 km/h. These hydrofoils are operated electronically: a sensor measures the position of the boat and subsequently the hydrofoils are automatically adapted to make sure the boat remains stable and ‘flies’ over the water.
The energy is generated by thin-film solar cells. These cells are flexible, whereas normal cells are very fragile and are also a lot cheaper to produce than the solar panels that can be found on roofs of houses. It is the first time that this method is used for a solar boat and it has also never been tried before with solar cars.
In about a week during the Ascension Day-weekend, the boat will take on its very first race. During the National Championship in Akkrum, the boats will sail around 50 km on the first day through the watercourses and lakes of Friesland. Day 2 is all about the sprint and ‘Akkrum course’. This years’ highlight is two months later during the World Championship in Monaco. In the meantime, a lot of testing will be done in order to optimize the boat for the envisioned place on stage in Monaco.
To transport the boat to the race in Monaco a large trailer is still needed. A crowdfunding-campaignis currently running to provide for the trailer. Alongside businesses it gives everyone the opportunity to contribute to innovations in the shipping industry. Of course, a reward is provided, varying from a keychain to your personal message on the boat, for every contribution, however small or large.
Solar Boat Twente consists of 15 UT-students enrolled in the courses Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Design, Applied Physics, Biomedical Technology, Advanced Technology, Civil Engineering and International Business Administration.
Have a look here for the coverage about the Solar Boat Twente in which TV Enschede FMspeaks with Heleen Jeurink, spokesperson Solar Boat Twente.