Keeping it cool with Nanofluids

Keeping it cool with Nanofluids

World champion TU Delft Solar Boat Team joined forces with YES-Delft start-up, Synano, to optimize the cooling system and win the 2019 Monaco Offshore Challenge.

In the sweltering temperatures of Monaco the TU Delft Solar Boat team implemented a new dual loop cooling system to cool the incredible heat generated by the drivetrain and battery. At the heart of it all: a new nanofluid coolant developed by Synano which, thanks to embedded nanosized particles in the liquid, demonstrated superior heat transfer capabilities to water and facilitated power ramp up and down operations during the race.

Keeping cool

The cooling system is an uninterrupted cycle consisting of an open loop and a closed loop. The open loop contains continuously refreshed raw water, pumped in through inlets in the boat, while the closed loop is what actively comes in contact with the hot components. Transfer of heat between the two loop occurs at a heat exchanger where the “cold” fresh water and “hot” nanofluid converge. The cooled nanofluids move on to repeat the cycle while the heated raw water is discarded.

nano fluids

Nanofluids are more effective in such a system compared to water because they have a higher thermal conductivity and therefore transfer heat faster from hot components to the cold-water loop. As the first Dreamteam to use Synano nanofluids, the team gained a lot of experience in handling the substance and analyzed tests to see how the fluid performs in real life. It was found that the overall average temperature of the motor remained well within the limit of 65 degree Celsius when using nanofluids; and, when peaks of temperature increase occurred, nanofluids actively lowered the temperature back to the average (62 DegC) recorded. As a result, nanofluids show a faster response to changes in motor power and temperature compared to water.

Cooling system TU Delft Solar Boat 2020

Solar Sport One race

Building on last year’s successful implementation of nanofluids the team looks to design a more compact but equally effective liquid cooling system to fit in the smaller hull form required for the new Solar Sport One competition. With over 20 races spanning 3 months, the nanofluids will play an even more important role to ensure consistent performance over a long period of time.


The team is looking forward to continuing working with Synano in order to optimize the system and proving that innovations conjured up at YES-Delft can positively influence Dreamteams on the other side of campus.

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