Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Solar Boat to Make Solo Trip From California to Hawaii

Energy
Solar Boat to Make Solo Trip From California to Hawaii

The Seacharger, a solar-powered boat built by "a couple of hobbyists" in a garage, will set sail for a solo, 2,000-mile ocean journey from California to Hawaii on Memorial Day.

The project was conceived by Silicon Valley-based Damon McMillan, who has a background in aeronautics and astronautics and currently works in the unmanned vehicle industry.

McMillan—with help from his team of friends, who happen to be computer experts and mechanical and electrical engineers—started building the Seacharger back in December 2013 and tracked its construction in a detailed blog.

According to Seeker, if the Seacharger is able to make the epic crossing, it will become the first unmanned boat to cross an ocean using only solar power.

"We were inspired by a competition they have every year where they send a robotic sailboat across the Atlantic,

and so far that's never been successfully accomplished," McMillan says in the video.

A previous vessel named Scout attempted the trip in 2013 but was lost at sea due to unfavorable weather conditions.

The land-based captain told PC World it took a lot of trial and error to construct the boat, adding that it seemed like an impossible task at times.

“If I had started believing that I had to get to the end tomorrow, I never would have continued. So it’s always just one step at a time,” McMillan said.

The machine is pretty impressive for something built by a team of "hobbyists" who all seem to have full-time jobs. The 50-pound craft is 91 inches long and 22 inches wide with a hull made of foam covered in fiberglass. A brushless electric motor, the kind you might see on a remote-controlled hobby plane, will propel the boat at a cruising speed of about 3 knots.

Two Renogy photovoltaic panels rated at 100-watts and a 50 cell LiFePo4 battery bank should give the boat enough power for three days' travel in the dark or unlimited travel in the sun.

In order to navigate the waters from hundreds of miles away, the team installed an Arduino-based autopilot, a GPS and satellite modem on board the boat in a watertight compartment.

The developers said that their boat merely uses "a few pieces of ordinary technology to accomplish an extraordinary feat."

In a blog post last month, McMillan wrote that the technology actually works after Seacharger autonomously made two laps around Shoreline Lake in Mountain View, California.

"Sure, it looked a bit like a drunken sailor, but it DID work," the post stated. "Just gotta tune some gains."

You can track the progress of the boat after its May 30 launch here.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Rooftop Solar Provides Net Benefits to All Nevadans

Meet the Carbon-Neutral Sports Car Made From Hemp

Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Grants $650k to Accelerate Climate Change Solutions

Ultimate Family Bike Raises More Than $1 Million in 1 Day of Kickstarter Campaign

Eat Just's cell-based chicken nugget is now served at Singapore restaurant 1880. Eat Just, Inc.

At a time of impending global food scarcity, cell-based meats and seafood have been heralded as the future of food.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

New Zealand sea lions are an endangered species and one of the rarest species of sea lions in the world. Art Wolfe / Photodisc / Getty Images

One city in New Zealand knows what its priorities are.

Dunedin, the second largest city on New Zealand's South Island, has closed a popular road to protect a mother sea lion and her pup, The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending


piyaset / iStock / Getty Images Plus

In an alarming new study, scientists found that climate change is already harming children's diets.

Read More Show Less
Wildfires within the Arctic Circle in Alaska on June 4, 2020. Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data processed by Pierre Markuse. CC BY 2.0

By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.

Earth had its second-warmest year on record in 2020, just 0.02 degrees Celsius (0.04°F) behind the record set in 2016, and 0.98 degrees Celsius (1.76°F) above the 20th-century average, NOAA reported January 14.

Read More Show Less

In December of 1924, the heads of all the major lightbulb manufacturers across the world met in Geneva to concoct a sinister plan. Their talks outlined limits on how long all of their lightbulbs would last. The idea is that if their bulbs failed quickly customers would have to buy more of their product. In this video, we're going to unpack this idea of purposefully creating inferior products to drive sales, a symptom of late-stage capitalism that has since been coined planned obsolescence. And as we'll see, this obsolescence can have drastic consequences on our wallets, waste streams, and even our climate.

Read More Show Less