September 30, 2010
Solar Energy Boat
Read this article late last night and was very impressed with the solar energy application on boats. The 'Turanor' runs strictly on solar power and stores the excess energy in batteries which is used at night when the sun is down. The boat itself weighs 85 tones but still manages an average speed of 7.5 knots. It's an experimental craft of course and it is no speedboat, still the solar panels have tremendous value. As of now solar energy doesn't match up with the power of a combustion engine but I think in the near future we are going to see 'hybrid boats' that run partially on diesel and on an electric engine powered by solar panels. It would cut down the cost of fuel, plus generally speaking, when boats are in the middle of the ocean they have plenty of room. If you could install solar panels on areas of the boat which are idle or if you can design a mechanism that transports the panels to the side of the boat and retract it when you're in port, you could make this work without too much effort. Cargo boats consume a huge amount of fuel when they traverse the oceans, so solar panels would be a wise economical asset.