Overview of Solar Boats

Solar boats are of course the thing we are looking for here. Small or large, with a traditional design or futuristic ones. Some are designed for recreational purposes while others are build to break records, some are build by professionals and yet others are build by enthusiast. But we love them all!

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Zero Emission Ferry from France

A fully electrical ferry
The Ar Vag Tredan, a fully electrical ferry

The french ship yard STX France has introduced a novelty in the nautical industry. They built a fully electrical, zero emission ferry. Instead of using traditional batteries to power the electrical engines, they opted for super capacitors. The advantage of the super capacitor is that that they are cheaper to use and can be charged very fast. They can use this option because the ferry will operate on a fixed and short route.

Fast charging

Every time the ferry docks from its short trip the capacitors will be charged with wall power. Unlike traditional batteries, which need many hours to charge, the super capacitors can be charged fast enough not to cause a delay.

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Electrical boat from an unexpected place

You would expect a solar powered boats to come a sunny place like Florida or perhaps a country focussed on renewable energy like Germany. And surely not from the mountains. But the swiss do not only make watches, they build electrical boats, like this Aqua Bus 850 T, too. I am always positively surprised about the amazing quality products that come from the mountains.

Grove Boats Aquabus 1050T
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The Dong Solar Challenge has started

The Dong Solar Challenge has kicked off again! The international World Cup for Solar Powerd Boats has started in the North of Holland for the fourth time already. The Dong Solar Challenge started in 2004 as the Nuon Solar challenge and is regularly compared to the solar challenge for cars held in Australia . And just like with the solar powered cars, many new inventions and improvements are introduced every race, as a result, the times this year are expected to improve again over the ones from two years ago.

Dong Energy Solar Challenge

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Saving Energy on Board

Red Led Port LightEnergy efficiency on board

As with any project, there are many aspects that are important to make the whole project successful. Building a boat that can be powered solely by renewably generated energy is no different. Everything has to work together to make sure the boat can sail for as long as desired while being comfortable and save at the same time. Unfortunately many of these aspects are conflicting.

For example, it would be most efficient to create a very light boat. But this means that you have to remove as much as possible. But to make a boat comfortable and safe, you want to add things like a fridge, toilet and rescue equipment. As this will add a lot of weight to the boat, more energy is needed to sail for the same time.

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Frysian E-Power Challenge 2011

Frysian E-Power Challenge

Last Sunday I spent the day in Sneek to watch 21 one electrically powered boats compete in the Frysian E-Power Challenge. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t too good and I didn’t envy the guys and girls sitting in their boats sailing around Friesland for more than 4 hours. I wanted to see this E-Power Challenge to see what the different possibilities of electrical sailing are at the moment. It was great to see the variety of boats that were participating.

Frysian eChallenge

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Frisian E-Performance Challenge – Update

Winner Dong Solar Challenge

I had a great day in Sneek today watching all the electrical boats. There were 21 boats competing for the title of fastest e-powered boat. I will post a longer review about the day with some photos in the next couple of days. The photo you see here is the winner of the Dong Solar Challenge 2010, which used to be called the Nuon Solar Challenge. This boat did not compete today. It is a requirement for the competing boats that they are on sale and the public can buy the same version. This is clearly not the case with this one, as it was specifically constructed for the solar challenge.

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(No) Renewable Energy for my Boat

I have a boat and I love it. It is an old rescue sloop which I have had for some years now. In the years that I have had it, it has been seriously changed and re-worked. It looked so different when we first saw it, that we didn’t even realize that the original hull was that of a sloop. The superstructure was, well, weird for a boat. This boat was, so we realized later, clearly built by someone who did not have much boating experience. The wood work was technically ok, it did include some very nice details. It would be a very nice construction, if it was a closet or a walk in wardrobe.

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Really? — updated —

To show how little is being written about this topic, renewable energy for your boat or ship, you should try to Google “renewable energy for boats”. Of course I am very happy with this result, but I am shocked to be on the number one spot in Google after only a couple short weeks. That means that there is really almost nothing written or published about renewable energy for boats. Or perhaps the SEO for my blog is just great.

On the up side, this strengthen me even more to write about it and discover the possibilities. Where do you want quietness and fresh air more than when enjoying nature in your own boat?

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Solar Powered Inflatable Boat

It is possible! That is the good news. Fully solar powered, all you hear is a whisper from the electrical engine. This is great. It looks really relaxed, sailing around without the noise of the traditional noisy engine.

Solar Power Infaltable Boat
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Useful Books

We have been looking for good books about renewable energy for boats for a while. We thought there would be more about renewable energy for boats. But we were wrong. Or we just haven’t been able to find them yet. This is one book that does cover the topic and it tells you a great deal about installing a renewable energy system. Or any electrical power system onboard your boat, car or caravan.

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A Sustainable Boat?

Confused-Figure-with-Question-MarksI was reading an article about an electrically powered boat. Although the main aim of this boat is not to be purely powered by renewable energy, it could be. It is a sailing boat with an electrical engine. The idea is that the two Mastervolt batteries are charged by mains power when the boat is not used.

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PlanetSolar – The largest solar powered boat on the planet

Planet SolarPlanetSolar

PlanetSolar is the worlds largest solar boat and sailing around the world at the moment. She is in the Philippines at the time of writing. Their goal is to promote the use of renewable. They do this by showing that renewable energy technologies work as well as by pushing the boundaries of current technology.
Wow, sailing around the world to promote something you believe in, that is pretty cool.

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A purpose: Renewable Boating Blog!

MazeFrom air-conditioning to aquadrive, from cooking to classics to canals, from paint to python-drive and from transport to toilet. These are just a few of the topics discussed in boating magazines. Which makes sense. We like to stay cool when the sun is hot, we like to eat nice food during our holidays and at the end of the day we all need to go to the toilet.

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