Monaco Independent Offshore Class

The 2019 TU Delft Solar Boat Team will for the first time join the Monaco Independent offshore class. This class consists of two races, one of 36 km from Monaco to Ventimiglia, and one of 93 km from Monaco to Cannes. The offshore class consists of two different classes of boats, the ones that can or cannot provide their own energy, named the independent and reliant class respectively.

The biggest difference between this race and the races the team did before are that these races are on open sea, where previous years the races were mainly on inland waters. However also many of the rules changed, resulting in more design freedom. The main rules are that the boat needs to be able to carry three persons of 80 kg, and that the max length of the boat is 12 meters.

The more design freedom means the boat will look very different from previous years. Also the electronics of the boat will get an overhaul. Given that there is no maximum voltage rule anymore, we will scale up the voltage form 50V max to 400V max to reduce losses. This brings a lot of design challenges and safety concerns with it. 50V is safe to touch, though I would not recommend it, touching 400V can be really dangerous. Important this year is to create good protocol to work with high voltage, and also create good housing which makes sure you cannot touch open connections, but is also watertight.

So for the electronics department the biggest challenge is the higher voltage. This changes the battery, the battery management system, which monitors the battery and keeps the modules balanced, the motor, the motor controller, and the way we convert the battery voltage from 400V to 24V. Also safety will be more important this year, since the voltage is more dangerous this year. This changes the way the housing of the battery should be designed, what cables to use, and how to transport the battery.