Thomas, Programmer at the TU Delft Solar Boat Team

My name is Thomas, and I will be a programmer for the Solar Boat team this year. My background is two years of Applied Mathematics at the TU Delft. Throughout my time
in Delft, I have always been attracted to the computer science classes that were introduced in the mathematics study. Especially the practical use of programming has
always appealed to me. That is why it was a great opportunity to combine the minor with participating in a D:Dream team as a programmer. The studies given on the EWI (Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, Computer Science) faculty lack practical courses throughout the years. This makes it harder to estimate your job possibilities. D:Dream teams in Delft put the things you have learnt so far into practice. EWI students are not aware of their value in teams like Solar Boat. And each year there is a scarcity of these students. My task in the team has not exactly been
determent since it really depends on this year’s goal. But there is always work in optimizing the steer and fly capabilities for example. What I really liked about this team in particular is that each year the team starts from scratch with building the boat. There is of course a lot of interaction between our team and the team members of previous years. So that information is not lost throughout the years. When you build something all the way from scratch the work really feels like your own and I think it is the best way to learn from it. Moreover, the collaboration of
students from different studies working together on one project makes transformation of information in different fields possible. To conclude I would like to ask: do you miss practical usage of your courses and are you looking for a new challenge? Come take a look at the D:Dreamhall and see which challenges are closest to your heart.


Electrical Challenges at the Solar Boat Team

Hello, my name is Olmar and I am Electrical Engineer at the Solar Boat Team of the TU Delft. I just finished my bachelor in Electrical Engineering and have started my master in Microelectronics. Next to my master I was looking for another challenge, and an opportunity to gain practical experience and create something awesome this year.

When looking for a challenge beside your study the D:Dreamhall is an obvious place to look: it offers a lot of different teams with different challenges, and they are all looking for electrical engineers. The Solar Boat Team however is something special. For an electrical engineer the amount of engineering in the boat is obvious: from the solar panels harvesting energy, as efficiently as possible of course, to using this harvested energy to drive the engine and make the boat move. The Solar Boat however has much more electrical systems. The boat can ‘fly’ using hydrofoils, which are essentially wings in water. But to make this happen, a lot of sensors and a good control system need to work together with the engine and the steering.

Besides of all electrical engineering challenges there is a lot more needed to make the boat function of course. The most obvious thing is that a boat has to float, and thus has to be water tight, which is also very useful to protect the electrical systems from short circuiting. But also the hull & body need to be designed, the Drivetrain has to be made, etc. Working for the Solar Boat Team is very interesting because of this: it is not just a single discipline, but a very broad multidisciplinary project in which you learn much more than only electrical engineering.

A big part of working on a large project like this is having meetings, do risk and requirement analysis, get a clear overview of upcoming challenges and how to solve them, and of course make sure that all projects from different disciplines fit together. Working together like this earns you useful experience that just studying will not.

The real thrill of a project like this is actually seeing your designed system in action and working, and then possibly look for opportunities to improve your system. But before the designing phase can start, and production and testing can happen, a lot still has to happen.

Firstly the right challenge has to be decided upon. This year our challenge is something that no previous Solar Boat Team has done yet: attempt to do an offshore crossing, more specifically cross the Adriatic Sea from Pula to Venice. Because it has not been done before there are a lot of new challenges that our team faces, which previous teams did not have to think about. However this new type of challenge also brings a lot of opportunities and new design challenges on to the table, resulting in a lot of room for innovation.

Therefore this is going to be a very exciting year with a lot of challenges, solutions, but hopefully in the end: success.


A Solar Panel story


Ik ben Laura, engineer in het Electronics Department van het 2017 team. Vorig jaar heb ik veel ervaring opgedaan in het team, dus dit jaar zal ik dat toepassen in het 2018 team als Chief Electronics! In dit blog zal ik jullie meer vertellen over de zonnepanelen die de 2017 boot gebruikt, en over ons bezoek aan Solbian, de sponsor en producent van onze zonnepanelen.

Het zonnedek is ongeveer 11 vierkante meter en bestaat uit een totaal van 34 panelen die verdeeld zijn over 10 arrays. Door de speciale vorm van onze boot en het zonnedek, hebben niet alle panelen dezelfde afmetingen en vorm. Dit betekent dat wanneer de panelen in Delft arriveren, wij de zonnepanelen goed moeten matchen om de boot te verzekeren van een maximum power output.

Om dit te doen testen wij de panelen eerst in een laboratorium van EWI om van elke module de Maximum Power Point en IV curve te verkrijgen. De panelen die wij gebruiken zijn gemaakt van Silicon en presteren veel beter vergeleken met de traditionele panelen die je bijvoorbeeld op huizen ziet tegenwoordig. Deze zonnepanelen hebben namelijk een efficiëntie van 19% tot wel 24%! Ze zijn licht en flexibel, zodat ze gemakkelijker te plaatsen zijn op het dek en zo min mogelijk gewicht toevoegen aan de boot.

Afgelopen zomer, direct na de race in Monaco, gingen we door naar Turijn in Italië. Hier organiseerde Solbian een speciaal evenement voor ons. Veel mensen kwamen kijken naar hoe onze boot voer over een prachtig meer genaamd Lago di Avigliana. Het was een geweldige dag en de boot voer beter dan ooit!


Voordat we aan de lange reis terug naar Delft begonnen met de boot en het team, kregen we nog een rondleiding op de plek waar de zonnepanelen geproduceerd worden. Solbian ontvangt zonnecellen uit Duitsland en in Italië doen ze zelf de compositie van de panelen. Ze leveren zonnepanelen over de hele wereld aan allerlei verschillende soorten projecten. Ook lieten ze zien hoe ze hier de kwaliteit van de panelen testen om de hoge efficiëntie te waarborgen. Het was ontzettend interessant om het hele proces van zo dichtbij te kunnen aanschouwen!

Meet Michiel

This is Michiel,

Michiel was raised in Delft, but lived in Veere, Zeeland, afterwards before he returned to Delft for studying. Last year, he finished his Bachelor Aerospace Engineering and this year, he will be the Chief Dynamics & Stability of the TU Delft Solar Boat Team. The coolest thing about the Solar Boat, he thinks, is the fact that the boat flies because of the hydrofoils.

This year, he wants to make sure the Dynamics & Stability department operates as smooth as possible to deliver a perfect result this year.

Michiel likes sporting a lot. He loves to windsurf and cycle. Will he be able to keep up with the Solar Boat on his surfboard? We will see!