solar boat twente
Solar Boat Twente is an official UT student team that aims to generate awareness about renewable energy in the maritime sector. Each year, a new group of students comes together to design and build a brand-new solar boat, with which they compete in several races and in the World Championship in Monaco.
Twentsch Pegasus is the latest creation of the UT student team. ‘The name is a reference to the legendary flying horse and to the horse as a symbol of Twente,’ says the team manager Xavier Roosendaal. ‘Using our hydrofoils, we aim to ‘fly’ above the water as well.’
The solar boat is ‘shorter, lighter and more efficient’ than its predecessors. ‘This is partly due to the changes in competition regulations that were announced at the beginning of the year,’ says Roosendaal. ‘Instead of nine square meters of sundeck, we now had to make do with six square meters. This has led to a smaller boat. For example, all our solar cells combined weigh only 6 kg; the entire boat weighs around 105 kg. That is 30% less than last year.’
As in the previous year, the team has chosen to place the engine under the boat, a so called POD motor. ‘By placing the motor here, the water cools the motor and there is a direct transmission to the propeller, so that little energy is lost. This idea was first implemented on the previous boat, the Blue Manta, and was further developed for the Twentsch Pegasus. This is one of the ways to ultimately allow us to fly above the water. That was the goal that we set in September 2019: to build a stable flying boat.’
To be tested
All of this remains to be tested, though. The boat hasn’t gotten a chance to get in the water yet. ‘Due to the corona situation, we had to cancel the physical boat reveal in March, all races the team would participate in were cancelled and we were delayed in the production process,’ explains Roosendaal. ‘We hope to test the boat in the summer to get insight into how it performs and pass on the information to the next team, so that they know exactly what works and what does not.’
‘It has been a weird year, as it has been for many people,’ sums up the team manager. ‘We had a good start, but then corona came. The whole agenda changed, all races were cancelled. You build towards racing and suddenly you cannot accomplish that. On the other hand, we did not sit still and we were still having a good time. As a team, we’ve learnt a lot about how to work together efficiently and what is needed to build a sustainable solar boat. That is why the reveal today was so important for us: we wanted to showcase to the world what we’ve been working towards.’