This Tuesday, 26 April, Solar Boat Twente unveiled its newest solar boat to more than 300 attendees in the Wilminktheater in Enschede. The new vessel, 'Rising Trident', is a product of last year's boat 'Echo', supplemented with numerous new innovations. Rising Trident will be on show next summer at the NK Solar Boat Race in Akkrum and during the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge.
This year the designers of Solar Boat Twente spent a lot of time designing a new drivetrain. "What immediately stands out is the red rear strut. We deviate from previous years with a double, counter-rotating propeller and the absence of a motor at the bottom of the strut" says Technical Manager Roman van den Broek. "The new engine this year sits at the top of the boat on the 'Golden Disk', a system that connects the propeller drives, rear wing controls and the steering system. The boat also has a completely redesigned cooling system to ensure efficiency and safety."
The new boat is called 'Rising Trident'. 'Rising' refers to one of the team's main goals: foiling. "That's what we call 'flying' on the three floats under the boat. These floats allow us to rise out of the water", explains Van den Broek. The trident is the weapon of the Greek sea god Poseidon. In addition, 'tri' refers to the fact that this is the third year this hull has been commissioned and the three floats under the boat. "Rising Trident' is a boat of over 6.1 metres long and 1.6 metres wide, weighs 130 kilos and can reach a top speed of about 30 km/h. As soon as the foiling is activated, the top speed will increase to just under 50 km/h. The range of the boat can be up to 70 km on a sunny day," says Van den Broek.
This year Solar Boat Twente will be in action in two races. The first race is the Dutch Championship Solar Boat Race in the Frisian Akkrum. Here the team will compete for the Dutch title during the Ascension weekend. However, the main goal this year is on the Mediterranean coast, in Monaco to be precise. Between 4 and 9 July, the team will try to win the world title in the Monte Carlo Solar & Energy Boat Challenge.
Solar Boat Twente is a team of 18 students from the University of Twente and Hogeschool Saxion that designs, develops and optimizes a new boat every year. The goal is to develop yourself in an environmentally conscious way on a technical and personal level. Since last September, the fifth team of Solar Boat Twente has taken up the challenge to optimize the hull of the years 2020 and 2021. In doing so, the team hopes to beat the competition in the various races that are scheduled this summer. To achieve this, Solar Boat Twente focuses on the following components: efficiency, foiling and modularity.
Another goal that Solar Boat Twente has embraced this year is to inspire the maritime sector. "This is easier said than done", says Team Manager Robin Rijnhout, "currently about 90% of all merchandise is shipped by the maritime sector. These ships still run on fossil fuels. This makes the maritime sector very polluting". Is a student team like Solar Boat Twente the solution to this relatively unknown problem? "Yes and no" is Rijnhout's answer. "Not directly, because the majority of ships simply need too much power to sail to switch completely to solar energy."
Nevertheless, Rijnhout sees a reason to answer 'yes' as well: "The current culture within the technical and maritime sectors is closely linked to earning large sums of money. What if you put 18 sharp minds together who are not looking for money but for an actual solution? What if this group is not afraid to make mistakes and what if the partners involved allow them to do so? Then you get a group of people who could make a difference. This is what Solar Boat Twente stands for. With our philosophy "Innovation to Inspire" we hope to trigger not only our own network but the sector beyond".