Private Energy Solar Boat

Private Energy Solar Boatarticle picture
Published: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 Races for solar-powered cars are well-known, but did you know that there are also races for solar boats? The Private Energy Solar Boat Team is based in Friesland, in the North of the Netherlands, and develops craft to participate in various solar boat races. The objective is to demonstrate publicly what is possible with solar energy.

In June 2007, during our graduation party in the pub, we discussed the first Frisian Solar Challenge (FSC), which took place in 2006. This has since become a biennial World Championship where boats powered by the sun come from many countries to race over the course of the famous ice-skating Eleven Cities Tour. Due to climate change the ice has not been thick enough for many years, so zero-emission boats are a fitting substitute.

The idea came quickly for a group of friends to build a solar boat and to enter the FSC in 2008. After the initial meeting the ‘Furia One Foundation’ was established. This includes all activities related to the development of solar boats. The next step was to find sponsors for development. This resulted in the Furia 1. Furia 1 had a length of 8 meters and a width (beam) of 2.4 meters. The maximum speed was 20 km/h and it weighed 146 kg.

In the Frisian Solar Challenge of 2008, we finished in a very encouraging 4th place. After further development of the Furia One, the team was the winner of the Dutch Open Solar Boat Challenge in 2009. This is another solar boat race, which is held in the south of the Netherlands.

For 2010 Furia 2 was developed, with the top speed increased to 32 km/h. This resulted in coming 1st in the Frisian Solar Challenge and winning the world title. 

June 2012 was the fourth running of the event, the Dong Energy Solar Challenge, sailed again in Frisian waters. In this race the Private Energy Solar Boat Team participated with both Furia 2 and the new Furia 3. With these two solar boats, the team was placed 1st and 2nd and retained the World Championship.

Furia 3 is the newest solar boat developed by the team and incorporates the latest techniques in the fields of composite construction, solar cells, battery technology, drive technology and hydrodynamics. All the components of this boat have been developed by the team itself. For example, the hull and deck structure is made of carbon fibre to maximise mechanical rigidity with low weight. The battery was specially developed by MG Electronics,

This battery is based on 1 kWh lithium-ion cells and uses an advanced Battery Management System. In addition, the team has developed its own solar panels in a thin laminate which are highly efficient, lightweight and semi-flexible. To develop the solar panels we purchased a flash tester to measure efficiency. This tester uses the Kipp & Zonen SP Lite2 to measure the radiation during the testing of a solar panel. In this way, the efficiency of the solar panels is measured and specific improvements developed to optimise performance.

Furia 3 also uses a hydrofoil system. Above a certain speed the boat is lifted out of the water to minimise drag and resistance. This has resulted in the achievement of a new speed record of 38 km/h.

If you want to know more about the team, please visit

Article by Gerard van der Schaar

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