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New solar boat for Frisian Solar Challenge


From 28th June to 5th July, the Antwerp Maritime Academy will be taking part for the 4th time in the Dong Solar Challenge in Friesland, the eleven-town stage race for solar boats and the unofficial world championship.
A totally new boat has been developed for the event this year, delivering a significant reduction in weight and greater reliability.

The boat has a monohull of 6 metres long and 1.6 metres wide. The hull itself consists of a carbon sandwich structure and is produced using vacuum infusion technology. For this part of the craft, the Academy called in the expertise of Vennekens Yachtbouw.
The specifications for the hull structure were calculated using special software. First, three 1/3-scale models were made and tested in the deep-water towing tank at the University of Liège. The data generated then enabled the hull to be developed and built full-size.

The Academy is entering the vessel in Class A. This means that the boat has 1 driver and can use 4 solar panels supplied by the organisers, with 900 watts of peak power output.
The motor can deliver 2000 watts of continuous power, which translates to a top speed of 22 km/h.
There is also a 1.5 kilowatt-hour battery on board, which can store enough energy to run at 1500 watts for one hour, or for two hours at 750 watts. This battery may only be charged during the race by the boat’s solar panels and is designed to be used as a buffer to keep the vessel on the move when the sun is clouded over.

The Academy team is made up of teaching staff and students from the Marine Engineering department.
The students will be conducting specific subsections of research during the race and after the event they will use the results as part of their final submissions for their bachelor’s degrees:
- Pascal Gernidos: arithmetical model for the use of hydrofoils on a solar boat
- Arnout Mechelaere: optimisation of motor controls
- Roel Van Bogaert: alternative propulsion with contra-rotating propellers
- Arne Good: battery capacity measurements.

The accompanying teaching team consists of Willem Maes, Marc Sterkens, Filip Van Gutte and Jos Noteboom.



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