WORLD GEOGRAPHY A - Z ATLAS
The more we know about our precious blue planet, the better we can manage our future. Please use the links table below to explore the countries of the world and learn about our fellow man, their customs, needs and the land they inhabit.
THE ULTIMATE GLOBAL CHALLENGE
A robot ship is to circle the globe autonomously adding a new scientific dimension to an already exciting solar powered expedition. As you can imagine, the planet's geography is pivotal to the planning of the route and the design of the ship. Many routes have been proposed, developed and investigated. The best example of which, and the most likely, is shown on this page as the 'Sunshine Route.' (Please note this project is under new management by a film company, rather than a navigation attempt.)
One of the most important factors to be considered is the safety of the ship. We would have said crew, but this ship can complete this mission unmanned. Many tropical areas are only safe from storms for six months of the year and other areas are prone to piracy. Our route is west-about so as not to fight the prevailing winds on a course designed to capture the sun. The ships average performance will determine the time of the voyage and that depends on how much sunshine it can capture.
Energy from the sun varies according to the angle of the incoming radiation. This radiated energy is called insolation and it is different for any position on earth at any given point in time. Thus, it is the position of the SolarNavigator on the earth's surface that determines how much energy the ship receives - even with the 'solar wings' tracking the sun.
The graph below was the development tool for designing the size of the 'solar wings' and the target weight of the boat. From the weight of the boat we can calculate drag - and from the drag we can calculate the energy we need to power the ship. Designing a boat is like a dog chasing its own tail. You have to start somewhere. Once you know the approximate figures, you can begin to tighten up the specification. A weight analysis is crucial. A weight analysis must include everything to make the ship complete. It's difficult. Any naval architect will tell you that. The ship is also the product of the mission. This particular mission is to go around the world in 280 days or under autonomously.
A GRAPH USED AS A DEVELOPMENT TOOL TO ESTIMATE SOLAR PANEL AREA FOR A GIVEN PERFORMANCE
This particular graph starts as the average insolation for each of the waypoints of the Sunshine Route. It's up to you how conservative your estimate is, but it is just that - an estimate. World insolation figures are available for many positions on earth, but not for the open ocean. There are other variables, for example the efficiency of your solar cells, and that comes down to cost. We have elected to build the SolarNavigator as economically as possible - and that means no exotic materials. This decision also makes us more attractive to project partners - and validates the commercial possibilities for solar powered cargo ships.
We hope you will in part experience the flavour of this exciting voyage from the destinations listed above and learn something of the exotic locations. The World is indeed our Oyster.
Records to beat:-
1. The electric Trans-World Ocean record - 585 days (571 days adjusted).
THE SUNSHINE ROUTE
Map study showing alternative routes investigated for the SolarNavigator, taken from an original project notebook 1995 - Gold (sunshine), Red, Green and Blue, as applied to the Mk2 SWATH design.
A date for the start of the event has yet to be set, although it is hoped for a launch in 2014 and an attempt to set a number of records in 2015. Gibraltar is where the fun begins and ends. The route will encompass both great Canals. It is hoped to transit the Panama Canal in February heading for the Galapagos and thence joining the South Equatorial Current to Indonesia via the Torres Strait by August. Still going with the S.E. trades across the Indian Ocean, then through the Suez Canal to Port Said into the Mediterranean to Malta and Gibraltar. It is expected this expedition will last around 280 days.
In 1995 the founder of the SolarNavigator projects proposed that a solar powered boat would be able to circumnavigate the globe. He displayed the first of his development models at the Earls Court boat show in London into 1995/6.
On the 4th of May 2012 that theory, was proven by Raphael Domjan's team and his superb boat the Turanor Planetsolar, thanks to generous sponsorship by Candido Swiss watches and Immosolar, leaders in the field of solar energy management.
The SolarNavigator project is under new management, with new contributing members welcome. We aim to improve on the 585 day record set by the PlanetSolar team with a boat that is autonomous. We see autonomy as the solution to many shipping issues, such as safety, course keeping and journey management.
Robot boats are in their infancy. In other business arenas such as commercial airliners and space exploration, automation is at a high level for exactly the reasons identified above. By setting our objectives high, we hope to interest engineering students looking for a worthwhile challenge; Universities and Industry captains looking for tomorrow's products as part of a collaborative research project.
In January of 2013 a consortium entered a competition for collaborative funding advertised by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB). Before filing a patent application was lodged. The TSB refused funding claiming that the technology was not new. If that is so, how is it then that a world navigation has not been achieved? Typically of government organizations, they either thought that they knew better, or had already earmarked the honeypot of European money preferentially.
In 2014, a consortium of naval architects and academics applied for Horizon 2020 funding, but had to withdraw - as the financial incentives offered did not outweigh the risks with disruptive technology.
Please have a look at the advantages that this autonomous package holds for the future of sea transport.
In addition to planning a route for good sunshine, it is an advantage to be able to tilt the ship's wing-panels towards the sun to collect as much energy from each daily pass. To do this we use a Solar Tracker. We also use electronic MMPT to ensure that each bank of panels is giving as much power as it can, while working with other banks of panels.
PROJECT INTRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL - IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER: ITALIAN, SWAHILI, SWEDISH
PROGETTO INTRODUZIONE ITALIANO
MRADI UTANGULIZI SWAHILI
Projekt Inledning SVENSKA
Eventually, it is hoped to be in a position to travel around the world in 80 days or less using energy from nature. We know that is a long way off, but if somebody does not try to raise the bar, we will never get there. For sure, as and when an autonomous navigation is safely completed, that will herald a new era of navigation precision.
This website is Copyright © 1999 & 2015 Max Energy Limited, an environmental educational charity working hard for world peace. The names Solar Navigator™,Ecostar DC50™ and Utopia Tristar™ are trademarks. All other trademarks are hereby acknowledged.