Space & Innovation

Solar-Powered Boat to Make 2,000-Mile Voyage

The Seacharger sets off May 30th on a solo trip from California to Hawaii.

A solo, 2,000-mile ocean voyage is quite a feat. But if you're an autonomous, solar-powered craft, you get major props for finishing the journey.

On Monday, one boat named Seacharger is undertaking such an adventure. It will launch from California and cross the Pacific to Hawaii.

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A previous attempt was made in 2013, by a vessel named Scout, but it was lost at sea.

Seacharger was conceived of by Calif.-based Damon McMillan, who has an MS in aerospace dynamics and works in the unmanned vehicle industry .

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If Seacharger accomplishes what McMillan designed it to do, it will become the first unmanned boat to cross an ocean using only solar power.

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On the website, McMillan says that the boat "is not a commercial project, but simply a couple of hobbyists assembling a few pieces of ordinary technology to accomplish an extraordinary feat."

The ordinary technology includes a fiberglass boat, 91 inches long and 22 inches wide as well as a brushless electric motor that will propel the boat at about 3 knots.

Two Renogy PV panels rated at 100-watts cover the entire top of the vessel and charge a lithium-iron-phosphate battery, which powers the motor. The craft could probably go three days without sun, according to the website.

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An autopilot system, GPS, and a satellite modem are housed in a watertight compartment.

How long it will take to arrive in Hawaii is anyone's guess, but you can follow its journey here, after it launches May 30.