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Solar Powered Ship

Posted: Mon May 17, 2010 6:40 am
by JK
From todays Marine Link:

It would be strange to not be listening for the diesels onboard this ship.

Re: Solar Powered Ship

Posted: Wed May 19, 2010 4:40 am
by JollyJack
According to the article, "PlanetSolar is a high-tech 85 ton, 31 meters (101.7 ft) long and 15 meters (49.2 ft) wide catamaran"......."The futuristic-looking ship is powered by two 10 kW electric motors."..........."PlanetSolar has a top speed of 14 knots (25 km/h)"......"The 50,000 km journey is expected to take 140 days at an average speed of eight knots (15 km/h)."

My wee sailboat (7.5 metres, less than 3 tonnes) is powered by a 9.9 hp (7.5 Kw) outboard and will do almost 6 knots under that auxiliary power. I think the designers have solved all the world's energy needs if they can get a 31 metre, 85 ton hull to do 14 knots with 20 kW!

I brought this to the attention of Naval Architect and his smiling comment was "See if he will submit it to us for approval so we can have a laugh."

Re: Solar Powered Ship

Posted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:19 am
by JK
That is the futuristic teflon coating that is going to give all of the speed, doncha know!!

Re: Solar Powered Ship

Posted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:04 am
by sandpiperpinwheel
Good to hear that it is entirely build using solar Power.Apart from Imtech technology did you use any other technologies for this?

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Re: Solar Powered Ship

Posted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:54 am
by Big Pete
There is very little known about it, Mainly because nobody has built a ship that is entirely solar powered!
Some have Photo Voltaic Panels all over the superstructure linked to storage batteries that will keep the lights on for a few hours in Port, but nothing that I have heard of that will power propulsion.
Bearing in mind that on average round the world, it is dark 50% of the time, during daylight (on average) half the power generated will have to be stored in batteries to power the ship in the Dark, to maximise the power generated, the panels would have to be mounted on frames that rotate and tilt automatically to track the sun, which would have all the complications of the tracking control system for a Satellite Dish. but be much heavier.
So for a ship with a total Hotel Load and propulsion load of 10,000 kw the Solar panels would have to produce at least 20,000 kw and the storage batteries would have to be able to store 120,000 kw hrs or "Units" of Electricity, the chargers and Inverters would both have to be rated for at least 10,000kw , the ship would have to slow right down if Cloud or rain were forecast, as the output of the PV panels would drop to almost nothing.
I have a nominally 4 kw solar panel on my roof, at present on a clear Summer day it produces about 3.5 kw at peak, but in Winter that frequently drops to about 100 watts! At present on bright Sunny days I generate about 24 Units of Electricity per day, but in December that is down to about 1 or 2 Units per day. This is due to the shorter length of the day and lower levels of UV light.

There are obviously complications for stability, Windage, and access to the cargo Holds and visibility from the Bridge to ensure safe navigation, if the entire Hull is covered in movable Solar Panels.

So in summary it is probably possible to build a yacht, using extremely expensive, lightweight, high tech materials, with no payload, that will run in daylight, using experimental high tech Solar Panels that would be prohibitively expensive for commercial use, and it would work well in the Tropics, so long as it tied up every night and went on shore power.

Another problem for commercialisation is that the Deck area to mount the Solar Panels is proportional to the square of the ships Length, while the displacement is proportional to the cube, so the power to weight ratio will drop off with size, so the larger the ship the slower it would tend to be.
But remember the Admiralty Co-efficient.