The Solar Voyager, built by two friends in their spare time, is an autonomous boat that is attempting to be the very first to cross any ocean using solely solar power, as it travels slowly across the Atlantic Ocean.
This ground-breaking project may not be making as big a splash as the Solar Impulse, an aircraft flying round the world using solar power, but then again it hasn’t received the millions in funding that the Solar Impulse has. Instead, developed by two friends over the course of three years, using their own time and money, the Solar Voyager is yet another display of the effectiveness of solar power and how it can be harnessed for a great range of practical uses.
The boat was designed and built by Isaac Penny and Christopher Sam Soon, from the U.S. and Mauritius, respectively. The aim of the project was to build an autonomous boat, with no crew members, which can sail the world’s oceans, while promoting solar energy at the same time.
The vessel is four meters in length and one meter in width, and it weighs in a hefty 250kg as it was made out of aluminum, to make sure it is sturdy and durable. The kayak-shaped boat has two solar panels on it, with a combined capacity of 240W, which can generate 7 kWh per day during the summer, and 3 kWh per day during winter.
It set off on its voyage from the port of Gloucester Massachusetts on June 1, with an estimated journey time of four months, before it touches down in Portugal, over 3,000 km away. The Solar Voyager team conducted some sea trials in North Carolina in spring 2015, and is hopeful the boat will be able to conclude its mission. The boat has live satellite coverage, so you can track its up-to-date progress via its website.
Source: PV Magazine. Reproduced with permission.