Wednesday, March 05, 2014

SOLAR SAILS

When I converted my boat to electric propulsion back in 2008 the idea of having sails that were also solar panels was kind of a pipe dream. Always seemed like a good idea to me with the boats 540 square foot sail and especially since BIANKA used batteries and an electric motor for it's auxiliary propulsion. Well, it looks like this idea is about to come to fruition:

"UK Sailmakers France, innovator of MatriX Titanium sails, has started a new company called SolarClothSystem® that will make mainsails with a film containing high efficiency photovoltaic cells. The cells are flexible enough to be used on sails that get rolled or folded. SolarClothSystem cells are printed on a 65-micron thick film." -UK Sailmakers


"The fine PV film (65 microns, DSSC type) is made ​​in the USA. The integration is carried out in France in Mandelieu-La Napoule (patent pending). Cclls are either embedded in the layers of a new sail membrane type or added on sails, new or not, gluing and sewing on woven materials, Dacron or Spectra kind. The flexible film allows the mainsail to be rolled on the boom. The harvested energy is transported by an integrated via the luff of the sail flexible circuit and then to the foot of the mast. A small electronic controller installed inside the boat controls the battery charging."

Of course the devil will be in the details. but, at least the idea of incorporating solar panels into a boats sails is starting to make it's way onto the waters. This electric sailor will sure be keeping an eye on where it goes from here.

Hat tip: Elecktra Yachts


1 comment:

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