Question!? need a large flat horizontal surface area for solar panels

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Val567, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. Val567
    Joined: Aug 2012
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    Val567 Junior Member

    I am looking to modify a boat, and I need suggestions on boat types to start with.

    Without getting into too much detail, I need a large flat horizontal surface area on the top of the boat that can support moderate weight. (More than 2/3 of the top surface area of the boat to be flat.) I want to know the maximum square feet of solar panels I could theoretically cram onto a boat.

    Boat sizes between 50ft and 100ft long please! Seaworthy vessels preferred!

    (When I say seaworthy, I don't mean North Atlantic in bad storms. I mean Florida to the Caribbean, or California to Hawaii / New Zealand / Australia / Japan.)

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. WestVanHan
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    WestVanHan Not a Senior Member

    If you're hoping to power a 100' long dutch barge via solar-it's faster to float with the currents.

    At any rate, "seaworthy" means seaworthy regardless of ocean-talk to sailors stuck in storms enroute to Aus/NZ,or the brutal North Pacific storms..

    Skimp out on scantlings at your own peril
     
  3. Ad Hoc
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    This is why I'm saying you simply don't get it.

    Do you know how far it is from Hawaii to Japan or NZ?
    Do you know what the sea conditions are like in the Pacific?

    In case you're unaware (which it seems you are)

    Here is one of just 20 (on average) weather systems that occur during June to Nov in the pacific:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-19384371

    Or what about the Caribbean:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-19386362

    And you think you can outrun one of these babies pottering along at a max speed of 5-7knots in a boat made from match sticks and the like??

    If you think you can, good luck to you.
     
  4. Val567
    Joined: Aug 2012
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    Val567 Junior Member

    Look, you let me worry about the power and engines. Just give me boat types with lots of flat top space.

    Also, who said anything about matchsticks or poor construction? I am asking YOU for boat type suggestions. I didn't bring up poor / cheap or weak construction as being part of my design.

    Yes, the sea can be rough. That is why I am asking your suggestions. Something tough with a lot of flat top space.
     
  5. Ad Hoc
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    Just the job :D

    X-craft.jpg
     
  6. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Val, your vessel needs to be capable of deep water work, which means any barge is out of the question. I'm not sure what you have in mind, but most vessels are designed around their intent or use, so not knowing what you want to do, means any suggestions are folly.

    You'll get more helpful replies if folks know what you're trying to do. If it's out of the box idea, you'll get some replies that are also, but the farther out of the box you venture, the more the need for a team of engineers and NA's, if a reasonable level of success is to be expected.
     
  7. latestarter
    Joined: Jul 2010
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    latestarter Senior Member

    Aircraft carrier?
     
  8. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    Agree. Aircraft carrier; just throw the planes overboard to make room for the solar panels. Are the solar panels for propulsion or are they for toaster and satellite tv?

    http://www.lolhome.com/funny-picture-1334712233.html
     
  9. erik818
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    erik818 Senior Member

    Val,
    You'll get a lots of flat top area from a catamaran. The L:B ratio often is about 2:1. Many catamarans also seems to be seaworthy enough to cross oceans. The engineers behind the solar powered catamaran PlanetSolar probably had good reasons for selecting a catamaran. I suggest PlanetSolar as your point of departure.
    www.planetsolar.org

    Erik
     
  10. capt vimes
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    capt vimes Senior Member

  11. Val567
    Joined: Aug 2012
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    Location: Georgia

    Val567 Junior Member

    www.planetsolar.org

    and

    http://www.solarwave.at/project/boat.html

    Yes, YES! These are the kinds of numbers and stats I need for my research! Thank you!

    A family sized 100% solar boat and a bigger ocean going 100% solar boat that has proven it can make it across the Atlantic and pacific by doing it!

    I am sure you are aware of how many people say stuff like that can't be done. Well there it is! HAH! It is just a question of what it is going to take.
     
  12. WestVanHan
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    WestVanHan Not a Senior Member

    If you can't enter- 'solar boat ocean'- into google and get this info on your own,the odds of you figuring out- much less building- something like this is nil.


    I'm sure we all know it's been done,it's just not very practical.

    Solar cars can cross continents,but only sunny ones with a flatter topography with one occupant who is laying prone.

    IIRC the family sized solar boat took well over a month to cross the Atlantic,and even with sponsors cost good amount.

    That big solar planet cost about $16 million.

    One can buy a great used sailing catamaran that is 4 times faster with 3 times the living space, for afraction the cost of the small solar one.

    Get back to us when it's done.
     
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  13. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    a catamaran 50 ft long with a 25 ft beam would give you lots of area for solar panels, and be more than enough for a "family size".

    However, as pointed out above, a cruizing size catamaran would be faster, cost less and likely be more reliable since it is proven technology. Consider that the foil equiped sloop rigged tri (60 ft if I recall) set a record from London to NY in 4 days 4 hours and some min. You could not build a solar powered boat to go anywhere near that fast, and the panels and motors would cost you WAY more than sails and small deisel.

    Total operating costs is not just fuel, but lifecycle costs, solar lifecycle costs still way too high. Which means you will use far less resources with a conventional sailboat.
     
  14. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Let him find out for himself. Once you run the numbers for a vessel like this, things become pretty obvious. Val there's a reason only multi million dollar projects manage to get across oceans with rigs like this. Currently energy storage, weight and range are still the biggest issues, assuming you have pockets deep enough. So, I say go for it and get back to us when you've solved the three primary issues that all systems like this face. Simply put, you're not the only wide eyed novice, that's thought "how hard could it be" just to run the numbers and come up with the same conclusions that engineers, designers and NA's around the world have for decades.
     

  15. BMcF
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    BMcF Senior Member

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