SolarSailor To Build Wind And Solar Powered UOV’s

Australian companies SolarSailor and Forgacs Engineering Pty Ltd recently announced an agreement to build wind and solar powered Unmanned Ocean Vessels.
According to SolarSailor‘s CEO, Robert Dane, the craft will be a game changer in the global $2 billion Unmanned Ocean Vessels (UOV) market. 
Mr. Dane says while most other UOVs are limited in the amount of time they can deployed, the SolarSailor UOV, like the Wave Glider we previously reported on, offers unlimited time at sea.
Unlike the Wave Glider, the primary method of propulsion for the SolarSailor UOV is wind, with solar cells embedded on the SolarSail and on the deck powering an electric motor and all electronic functions including lighting, movement sensors and communications with satellites. Electricity is also generated from propeller regeneration.
Electricity is stored in lithium-ion battery packs located the hull. These battery packs also act as ballast to assist in stabilising the vessel.
“This opens a whole new suite of capabilities and markets in highly-sensitive security or weather-risk areas, in military operations and coastal border protection with unauthorized maritime arrivals, oceanography and meteorology, and marine safety at sea,” said Mr. Dane.
Tony Lobb, Director of Forgacs, said the SolarSailor UOV will mean navies and coast guards can use the technology to cost-effectively monitor from a shore base without risk to crew safety.
Solar Sailor technology is already powering six vessels in Australia, Hong Kong, Shanghai; with the latter being the Suntech Guosheng Solar Sailor vessel, a 31.5 metre craft with the the largest solar sail in the world. The company’s systems will also be used for the 58 metre super-yacht, Soliloquy.
Combining age-old sail technology to capture the wind with solar power is also being pursued by other companies for commercial shipping applications. A Japanese company is working on a system to install sails in the form of massive solar panels on freighters.