55 km/h on solar power

Our solar deck consists of monocrystalline silicon cells that are 30% more efficient than the average solar panels on rooftops. With this efficiency, 24% of the collected solar energy is converted into electricity, which enables us to sail fast. To protect the solar cells from scratches and water, they are laminated. This protective layer of laminate is only 0.15mm thick, which is as thin as a piece of paper! With 6 square meters of solar deck weighing 6 kg, we produce enough energy to sail. And the lighter the boat, the more efficient and faster we can race!

The team also designs Maximum Power Point Trackers (MPPT’s) to convert all captured solar energy as efficiently as possible into electricity, which is stored in a 1.5 kWh battery. By comparison; by taking a 10-minute shower you use more energy than our battery can store. With this small amount of energy, our solar boat can reach a maximum speed of 55 km/h and sail for hours on end!

solar panel

55 km/h on solar power

Our solar deck consists of monocrystalline silicon cells that are 30% more efficient than the average solar panels on rooftops. With this efficiency, 24% of the collected solar energy is converted into electricity, which enables us to sail fast. To protect the solar cells from scratches and water, they are laminated. This protective layer of laminate is only 0.15mm thick, which is as thin as a piece of paper! With 6 square meters of solar deck weighing 6 kg, we produce enough energy to sail. And the lighter the boat, the more efficient and faster we can race!

The team also designs Maximum Power Point Trackers (MPPT’s) to convert all captured solar energy as efficiently as possible into electricity, which is stored in a 1.5 kWh battery. By comparison; by taking a 10-minute shower you use more energy than our battery can store. With this small amount of energy, our solar boat can reach a maximum speed of 55 km/h and sail for hours on end!

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30x lighter than a speedboat

Our boat flies on hydrofoils, so every kilogram that has to be carried is extra resistance. Therefore, we make the hull as light as possible. This year our hull weighs only 17 kg. By comparison, a speedboat of the same size is more than 30 times as heavy!

It is also important that the hull is strong because it is the foundation of the boat, to which many subsystems are connected. Therefore, we make the hull of carbon fiber: a light and strong material. In a mould, two layers of carbon fibre are placed like a sandwich around a honeycomb core, which cures for 10 hours in an oven at 80 degrees. Then a wrap is glued around the hull, which not only makes the boat look good but also ensures that the boat is watertight.

The hull is optimized for flying condition, which is visible in the aerodynamic design of the boat. The so-called ‘lobes’ on both sides of the boat offer extra stability while flying.

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30x lighter than a speedboat

Our boat flies on hydrofoils, so every kilogram that has to be carried is extra resistance. Therefore, we make the hull as light as possible. This year our hull weighs only 17 kg. By comparison, a speedboat of the same size is more than 30 times as heavy!

It is also important that the hull is strong because it is the foundation of the boat, to which many subsystems are connected. Therefore, we make the hull of carbon fiber: a light and strong material. In a mould, two layers of carbon fibre are placed like a sandwich around a honeycomb core, which cures for 10 hours in an oven at 80 degrees. Then a wrap is glued around the hull, which not only makes the boat look good but also ensures that the boat is watertight.

The hull is optimized for flying condition, which is visible in the aerodynamic design of the boat. The so-called ‘lobes’ on both sides of the boat offer extra stability while flying.

Propulsion

The solar energy is eventually converted into underwater propulsion. We do this with a lightweight engine the size of an apple. This small motor has enough power to make our boat fly 55 km/h! 

To keep the motor cool, cooling tubes run through it. These tubes are as thin as the tip of a pencil with a diameter of 2.6 mm! The cooling tubes are filled with nanofluid. This fluid has high thermal conductivity, so it can quickly exchange heat from hot components to a cold water circuit.  

What makes our boat special is that the propeller is reversed. In contrast to conventional ship design, we use a pull propellor. This produces a more turbulent flow over the rear hydrofoil, which improves performance.

Propulsion

The solar energy is eventually converted into underwater propulsion. We do this with a lightweight engine the size of an apple. This small motor has enough power to make our boat fly 55 km/h! 

To keep the motor cool, cooling tubes run through it. These tubes are as thin as the tip of a pencil with a diameter of 2.6 mm! The cooling tubes are filled with nanofluid. This fluid has high thermal conductivity, so it can quickly exchange heat from hot components to a cold water circuit.  

What makes our boat special is that the propeller is reversed. In contrast to conventional ship design, we use a pull propellor. This produces a more turbulent flow over the rear hydrofoil, which improves performance.

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A flying boat

Due to the limited amount of solar energy we receive, we are forced to sail super efficiently. Our hydrofoil technique is therefore very important. Just like airplane wings, the wings underneath our boat ensure that the hull flies above the water. By making speed, the wings push the solar boat upwards. This greatly reduces the resistance of the boat in the water, allowing us to sail more efficiently, faster and longer. Thanks to the hydrofoils, our boat can fly 55 km/h on the energy of an electric kettle!

This year we are doing something new: we are making the hydrofoils out of carbon fiber. This allows us to produce our wings completely by ourselves. This gives us the freedom to develop more wings for our boat, so it performs optimally in every racing element.

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A flying boat

Due to the limited amount of solar energy we receive, we are forced to sail super efficiently. Our hydrofoil technique is therefore very important. Just like airplane wings, the wings underneath our boat ensure that the hull flies above the water. By making speed, the wings push the solar boat upwards. This greatly reduces the resistance of the boat in the water, allowing us to sail more efficiently, faster and longer. Thanks to the hydrofoils, our boat can fly 55 km/h on the energy of an electric kettle!

This year we are doing something new: we are making the hydrofoils out of carbon fiber. This allows us to produce our wings completely by ourselves. This gives us the freedom to develop more wings for our boat, so it performs optimally in every racing element.

A motor from outer space

While flying, the boat has three contact points with the water; these are the wings that lift the hull completely out of the water. To ensure that the boat flies stably, we have a height control system. This system constantly measures the sailing height and uses this information to control the hydrofoils. The constantly changing sailing conditions during the race require that we constantly adjust the angle of the wings.  

With an EC engine the wings are rotated to maintain the correct altitude. This engine is not only used in our boat, but also flies 400 kilometers above the earth in the International Space Station (ISS)! We use this high-tech engine because it is small, but also powerful, reliable and extremely precise. The motor can perform micro adjustments in our propulsion system with an accuracy of 0.037 mm. Precisely this accuracy is important when controlling the wings, because a rotation of only a few millimeters has a great influence on the sailing behaviour of the boat. 

height control below

A motor from outer space

While flying, the boat has three contact points with the water; these are the wings that lift the hull completely out of the water. To ensure that the boat flies stably, we have a height control system. This system constantly measures the sailing height and uses this information to control the hydrofoils. The constantly changing sailing conditions during the race require that we constantly adjust the angle of the wings.  

With an EC engine the wings are rotated to maintain the correct altitude. This engine is not only used in our boat, but also flies 400 kilometers above the earth in the International Space Station (ISS)! We use this high-tech engine because it is small, but also powerful, reliable and extremely precise. The motor can perform micro adjustments in our propulsion system with an accuracy of 0.037 mm. Precisely this accuracy is important when controlling the wings, because a rotation of only a few millimeters has a great influence on the sailing behaviour of the boat. 

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The brain of the boat

The software is the brain of our solar boat. Without it, our boat wouldn’t even move forward. The software runs on small electronic circuit boards that we solder ourselves. The software ensures that the systems onboard can communicate with each other via the CANbus protocol. The CANBUS system can be compared to a train: it drives back and forth through our boat, picks up information at every stop and delivers this information at other stops. For example, the information from the altitude sensors is transmitted to the engines that control the wings. 

All data comes together in the pilot interface. This year we added a new element to the steering wheel: a small screen. Here the pilot can see all the information needed to win the race!  

MPPT yellow
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The brain of the boat

The software is the brain of our solar boat. Without it, our boat wouldn’t even move forward. The software runs on small electronic circuit boards that we design and solder ourselves. The software ensures that the systems onboard can communicate with each other via the CANbus protocol. The CANBUS system can be compared to a train: it drives back and forth through our boat, picks up information at every stop and delivers this information at other stops. For example, the information from the altitude sensors is transmitted to the engines that control the wings. 

All data comes together in the pilot interface. This year we added a new element to the steering wheel: a small screen. Here the pilot can see all the information needed to win the race!