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Engineers on course to make super-efficient solar-electric powered boat

Date:
December 9, 2009
Source:
University of Southampton
Summary:
A team of academics and students has begun work on a solar-electric powered boat which they claim will be one of the most sophisticated to enter the annual Solar Splash competition so far.

One of the entries in Solar Splash 2009.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Southampton

A team of academics and students at the University of Southampton have begun work on a solar-electric powered boat which they claim will be one of the most sophisticated to enter the annual Solar Splash competition so far.

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Team 'Tarka', led by Dr Peter Wilson at the University's School of Electronics and Computer Science, comprises experts across the University of Southampton in Electronics, Nanotechnology, Solar Energy and Ship Science.

They have come together to design and build a light and efficient boat to compete in next year's Solar Splash event, which will take place in Arkansas from 9-13 June 2010.

In order to develop their ideas and materials further, the team is seeking collaboration with local businesses interested in 'green' boats or buildings, aerospace, engineering or general manufacturing. In 2009 a number of companies sponsored key elements of the boat to a successful outcome, and the team is looking for sponsors at different levels for this year's competition.

Solar Splash is the World Championship of Intercollegiate Solar Boating. The competition takes place over five days, with technical inspections on the first day and the remainder of the time occupied by five on-the-water competitive events, when speed, manoeuverability and endurance are tested.

Last year was the first time that a British university entered a boat in the competition. Despite having virtually no budget for the project and having to economise so much that they bought the boat's motor on eBay, they still managed to come in the top ten, winning awards for the 'Rookie Team with the Highest Overall Score' and 'top teamwork', 'sportsmanship', and a top three finish in the qualifying event, with the result that the team qualified as one of the 'elite' boats for 2010.

"Last year, we managed to produce a boat which was simple and light," said Dr Wilson. "This year, due to our new laboratory facilities, carbon fibre expertise and our advances in solar-powered technology, we can invest in a more professionally engineered boat aiming to be one of the most sophisticated solar-powered boat ever designed within the constraints of the Solar Splash competition. Furthermore, this is now a University wide team, with significant contributions from the world leading schools of Electronics and Computer Science, and Ship Science."

Information about Solar Splash 2010 is available at http://www.solarsplash.com


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southampton. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Southampton. "Engineers on course to make super-efficient solar-electric powered boat." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091206184628.htm>.
University of Southampton. (2009, December 9). Engineers on course to make super-efficient solar-electric powered boat. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091206184628.htm
University of Southampton. "Engineers on course to make super-efficient solar-electric powered boat." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091206184628.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

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