Small, Autonomous Solar-powered Boat Is “Sailing” Across the Atlantic

Jon Capistrano
Jon Capistrano
June 22, 2016

A small, autonomous kayak is braving wind and waves somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean to demonstrate the power of solar energy. Christopher Sam Soon and Isaac Penny’s “Solar Voyager” embarked from Boston last June 1st and they hope it will land in Portugal this coming October according to a report by Inhabitat.

The two engineers began the project in 2013 with the goal of building a boat from scratch that can travel the world autonomously, although they are not the first team to send an autonomous craft to sail the ocean. In 2012, a Wave Glider powered by wave energy and sponsored by Liquid Robotics made the trip.

The Solar Voyager engineers are not sponsored by a major company and they built the craft themselves. Sam Soon and Penny worked on the Solar Voyager in their spare time after work. The solar panels that powers the Solar Voyager can generate 7 kWh daily during summer and 3 kWh during winter. The boat is constructed from aluminium which is more resilient than glass reinforced plastic used by other autonomous water crafts. The aluminium construction makes the Solar Voyager slower and heavier, but the weight helps resist shocks. The engineers monitor the boat using the Iridium Satellite Network and it can receive data every 15 minutes.

The engineers related to TechCrunch that they always think about solar power as an alternative power source and you cannot do this project with fossil fuels. You can’t build something that will run forever. Solar power is not just an alternative form of energy, but it’s the best power solution. It has brought something to the table that nothing else has.

The two engineers are also looking for a boat owner in Portugal who can help them get their boat once it makes it full journey.

Click here to read the full story on Inhabitat

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