This past May, a solar powered craft called the SeaCharger began a long journey from California to Hawaii. The objective of the project was to be the first unmanned solar powered vehicle to cross the ocean, using the sun as its only source of energy. By the end of July, the Sea charger had completed its mission and had reached its destination, traveling a total of 41 days.
Created over the span of two years by engineer Dam McMillian, The SeaCharger is constructed from a 91 inch long fiberglass-covered foam hull, topped by two photovoltaic panels. The whole vessel weighs in at 50 lbs. making it light enough to travel at a constant speed and easily controlled by wind.
The solar powered turbine is able to generate enough power to reach an average speed of 4 km/h, and receives further assisted momentum from both currents and wind along the way. In total, the SeaCharger covered a distance of 3,883 kilometers, traveling an average of 94 kilometers per day.
Additionally, small solar panels send power to a LiFePo4 battery bank, kept in the thruster pod below the craft. A waterproof pod between the solar panels houses the Arduino-based autopilot, GPS and satellite modem circuitry, controlling all of the technology behind the craft.
Solar power energy is now beginning to integrate into more modern devices such as the SeaCharger, providing a cleaner and more affordable method of generating power. Eclipse Automation provides a wide variety of custom integrated, automated solutions for the solar and energy industry, including silicon production, wafer manufacturing, cell manufacturing and module manufacturing to enhance the overall efficiency and quality of your project.
Source: New Atlas