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Arctic voyage to demo rugged marine solar cells

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

The Solarboat Icade will be crewed by Anne Quéméré from Brittany (above). She will travel 3000km in the 6m long solar powered boat starting at the end of June using power from solar cells.

The panels use 1mm thick Sunpower solar cells that have a 23% efficiency, and the panels have been engineering to be light and flexible but also resistant to the harsh environments, from frost, thermic cycles, UV, salt and human pressure. The cells power an electric propulsion system from Torqeedo in Gilching, Germany

“This challenge presented us with an opportunity to surpass ourselves in all the stages of design and integration of solar panels, but also for the implementation of an optimized energy management system,” said Christophe Ballif, Director of the PV-Centre at CSEM, the Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique in Neuchatel. “We were enthusiastic about the project because we are convinced that solar energy is under-utilised in the marine environment. The tests we undertook showed that existing solutions could be improved, and today we are in a position to transfer our know-how to the companies involved in the sector and popularise its use.”

www.csem.ch

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