The solar panels consist of a special kind of silicon cells. This type features a back contact, which means that the connection between cells is situated at the back of the panel contrary to conventional silicon solar panels. As a result, a higher efficiency is achieved, thus harvesting even more sunlight. Besides, the cells can better withstand corrosion, temperature fluctuations and impact. That makes these solar panels appropriate for racing in rough environments such as the bay of Monaco. The maximum power that the solar panels can generate is optimised by means of special equipment (MPPT’s). This way energy captured by the solar panels is efficiently converted into electrical energy.
On one hand the hull has to be as lightweight as possible, in order to reduce resistance. On the other hand, the hull has to be strong enough in order to be able to withstand the loads. Therefore, the hull is made out of carbon fiber, which is a lightweight and strong material at the same time. The carbon fiber is glued onto a honeycomb core material. A lightweight and strong hull is realised once the carbon fiber is cured in a heat oven. Furthermore, extra stiffness and shape retention is accomplished by ribs and spars. In order to make the boat waterproof, the carbon fiber is wrapped with a polymer layer. Hereafter, the hull is ready to face the waves.
The energy captured by the solar panels is used to power an electric motor. A special feature of the boat is that the motor is located at an unusual place. In particular, the motor is placed in a special designed aluminium housing. To improve motor efficiency, the motor is custom-made based on desired specifications. The motor is connected to a driving shaft, which spins the propeller. The propeller provides forward thrust and is optimised such that all system requirements are met.
The hydrofoils deliver the upward force that lifts the hull out of the water at a certain speed. This way it looks as if the boat is ‘flying’ above the water. As the boat ‘flies’, the air resistance grows, but the water resistance diminishes. This is a great advantage since the air resistance of our boat is way smaller than the water resistance. Hence, the energy captured by the solar panels can be used more effectively. The hydrofoils are made from cnc milled aluminium, which is coated in order to assure corrosion resistance. To retain the boat‘s height and orientation, the hydrofoils are continuously being actuated by an electronic control system. This high-tech system makes sure that the precision motors are able to rotate the hydrofoils via a driving shaft.
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