Solar powered emission-free voyage to Alaska

David and Alex Borton have successfully completed their journey with the solar boat »Wayward Sun«. The start was in Bellingham, Washington State, and the destination was Juneau, Alaska. By plane, the 1,600-mile route can be covered in two and a half hours. By car, it's more than 1,800 miles, so the trip takes about 38 hours. But speed was not the issue here; the journey was the goal. Father and son were underway for 45 days, 38 of them at sea. They covered an average of 32 nautical miles per day and traveled at an average speed of 3.7 knots.
The wooden-hulled electric boat runs on photovoltaics and has no fossil-fuel internal combustion engine on board. The »Wayward Sun,« built by Devlin Boat in Olympia, Washington, is powered by a motor from German Torqeedo GmbH, specialists in electric mobility on water. A Cruise 4.0 electric pod drive with six Torqeedo Power 24-3500 lithium batteries were used. According to the company, there is a separate 12-volt system for lighting, electronics and other DC-powered systems, as well as an inverter for occasional AC loads. The batteries are charged by a 1,700-watt solar array, installed on the boat's roof.
There have only been two days when it was not possible to move forward because of high winds or thick fog, Alex Borton says. »Even on a completely overcast day at this time of year, we can cruise at two to three knots during the day without draining our batteries.« In direct sunlight, five knots or more were possible.
Torqeedo, founded in 2005, is part of the Deutz Group. The company develops and manufactures electric and hybrid drives from 0.5 to 100 kW for commercial applications and recreational use.
© PHOTON

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