Crossing the Ocean on solar and wind power

8/21/19, 1:59 PM -

Greta Thunberg is currently sailing across the Atlantic Ocean to New York aboard Malizia II. Here are some facts about this vessel that everybody seems to be talking about.

Crossing the Ocean on solar and wind power
Positioned throughout the hull of Malizia II, the solar modules are arranged in 33 strings with a busbar each.

On August 14th 2019, the Open 60 class ocean-going racing yacht Malizia II set sail from the Plymouth in the UK. In what some might see as the most important Atlantic crossing since Columbus, this ship brings climate activist Greta Thunberg and her team to the Americas. The boat is equipped to sail without carbon emissions.

On the one hand, this is achieved through the use of thin-film solar panels fitted to the ship’s deck where they are least susceptible to shading from the mast and sails. On the other hand, Malizia II is equipped with a set of stern-mounted water turbines for generating electricity when the weather does not allow PV-based power generation.

Thin-film panels throughout the hull

The solar panels were built by Italian manufacturer Solbian. These thin-film PV modules are encased in plastic, making them both durable and flexible. Generating a total of 1.15 kilowatts, they come in two varieties: The ones fitted to the sides of the hull are smooth for better hydrodynamics, while the panels incorporated into the deck area are covered in a prism structure to provide protection and prevent slipping.

The panels are wired as 33 strings with integrated bypass diodes, which deliver power to 15 step-up converters with MPP trackers. These convert the DC voltage to 48 volts for charging the lithium ion batteries. In parts, the system was installed by the Austrian company Sailectron. It not only provides power to the ship-board electronics and what little creature comforts Malizia II has to offer, but also an electric motor for navigating in calm waters and into the harbour.

Water turbines for additional generation

Even when conditions are not suitable for generating solar power, two water turbines mounted to the stern are driven by the boat’s forward movement through the water to generate additional power. In addition to the electric motor mentioned before, Malizia II also does have a combustion engine on board, but it has been sealed before leaving Plymouth and will only be used in an emergency. (mfo)

The videos from the 2019 pv Guided Tours at The smarter E Europe (Intersolar Europe, ees Europe, Power2Drive, EM-Power) in Munich are now online.

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