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.