Solar Electric Boat Design

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by DSGNA, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. DSGNA
    Joined: Feb 2009
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    Location: Plymouth

    DSGNA New Member

    Hi there. I'm a final year engineering student at university. As part of my course I have to do a group design project on a solar powered boat. For the project, a certain amount of market research has to be under taken. With this in mind I have created a survey asking about certain aspects of boat design (see below). Also, any other comments on the project would be appreciated. Cheers. (2009 survey)
  2. 8430017
    Joined: Dec 2008
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    Location: india

    8430017 bostaneh

    hi.i need some information aboat solar boat. please send these information to my maile. thank you
  3. JonathanCole
    Joined: May 2005
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    Location: Hawaii

    JonathanCole imagineer

    I am in the process of designing and building a live aboard solar catamaran. If your engineering group would be interested in the facts on the subject send me an email. I am also looking for future employees in a solar boat building venture.

    Attached Files:

  4. HB Marine

    HB Marine Previous Member

    Basic recommandations for Solar Electric Boat Designs

    This interesting topic should be constantly updated of news guys, for ecological reasons and because there are still a lot of promising innovation to improve there...

    I am not posting this message to reveal any secrets, but just spread some basic recommandations for those who dream to design or build such solar electric boats:

    DO NOT JUMP Directly on drawing boat design!!!​

    You should know that using Solar Photovoltaïc Energy request some calculations, to define the total power needs, and quantity of solar panels in order to succeed electrical requirements (notice that monthly solar radiation average is not the same according period of the year).
    You would probably be really disappointed to discover the total solar panels quantity is quite big and you will start to worry not to get enough place on board for that!!!

    Calculations depends on many parameters such as:

    - The boat design (boat hull) and its frictional forces of penetration into the water.
    Catamarans or Trimarans would probably be the best designs, moreover due to their wide beam allowing large fix top mounted with solar panels...

    - To avoid any waste of Energy (reduce quantity of requested solar panels and batteries, think your boat to be the lightest as possible. Batteries are heavy and according the total requested power, you will be surprise of total requested batteries to be loaded on board!!!

    - Average speed and autonomy (to start your project, don't consider crazy high speed, but instead chose boat average speed reaching 5 knots and maybe top speed around 10 knots)

    - Use Frequency: daily or once/twice a week: cruising with family and friends on the week-end, for example...

    - Don't forget that small windturbines could be also very welcomed to charge batteries, hydro-generators as well, if your mooring places meet some interesting water currents.

    Good luck Guys!
  5. Jamie Kennedy
    Joined: Jun 2015
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    Location: Saint John New Brunswick

    Jamie Kennedy Senior Member

    I concur with HB Marine that solar panels can be misused. The technology can be misused, but the energy return on energy invested is not great, and depends a lot on where it is used, how it is placed, and whether or not the energy available can be utilized. In many cases better alternatives may exist including such things as sails, oars, paddles, wind generators, batteries recharged off the grid, renewable carbon fuels, and non-renewable fossil fuels. I am a big fan of solar power but I don't like to see it misused. The first step should be reducing the energy needs to begin with by not building boats bigger or faster or heavier than they need to be, and by minimizing non-propulsive energy use as well. I think a lot of solar design projects are well intended but not the ones that focus too much on speed. I am not a big fan of Tesla. Speed without necessity is not sexy. Efficiency is sexy. Tesla is a peacock. I cannot stand the sight of a peacock.
  6. portacruise
    Joined: Jun 2009
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    portacruise Senior Member

    Thanks, I would be one of the few which would agree with your statements. Unfortunately the masses of consumers flock to a "peacock" with a goal to buy hype, efficiency be dammed. It does draw attention to the potential of electric vehicles, though. The fast bullet trains have good enough trade off speed and better efficiency per passenger compared to personal vehicles and airline but have never caught on in the USA. Maybe part of the draw is being a separately personal and visible symbol displayed in everyone's face ;-)...

  7. HB Marine

    HB Marine Previous Member

    SunSeaRider 16 (Solar Electric Catamaran)

    Innovation is great guys!
    Please focus on the topic if you have something really interesting to say that brings some true value to the subject...

    For now, please enjoy some videos I found on Youtube about the "SunSeaRider 16"

    Please see after few specifications I have translated for you from the following French web link:

    mounted with 2 x Torqeedo Cruise 4.0RL

    Only using solar energy (in good sunny day conditions): up to 6,4 Km/h (3,5 Knots)
    Economic Speed (2 kW) : 8,3 Km/h (4.5 Knots)
    Max Speed : 11.5 Km/h ( 6,2 Knots)

    Max Speed with only 1 engine (other engine off): 9,3 km/h (5 Knots)

    Acceleration :
    From 0 to cruising speed : 8 seconds
    From 0 to Max speed: 10 seconds
    360 degrees rotation (spot turn) : 24 seconds

    SunSeaRider 16 is designed to get 5 to 7 persons onboard.

    The company "Polycreatis" ( plan de design a bigger boats:
    - "SunSeaRider 16 XL" able to get up to 10 persons
    - "SunSeaRider 39".

    To be followed!... :)
  8. Jamie Kennedy
    Joined: Jun 2015
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    Location: Saint John New Brunswick

    Jamie Kennedy Senior Member

    Nothing against innovation.
    That looks like a good design and appropriate use of the technology.
  9. Externet
    Joined: May 2009
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    Location: Mideast U.S.

    Externet Junior Member

    Myself having that same project in thinking stage, decided that the best "really interesting" innovation (as prompted by HB marine) for an electric boat I would implement is 'slide out' or 'fold out' roof solar panels to increase exposure area. [And bring extra perimetral shade too :) ]

    Thinking also of a gull proof method to keep them from making the panels their lounge/dormitory covered in shiit. Have preliminary solutions to evaluate.

    And batteries placement... what is better for stability... centered lengthwise or two rows on sides...

  10. Heimfried
    Joined: Apr 2015
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    Location: Berlin, Germany

    Heimfried Senior Member

    Assumed trim and heel are balanced, the vertical center of gravity is determining the stability. Except flat bottom boats the centered position will be a bit better, because the VCG is lower than in the two row case at the chines.
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