Scientists and experts around the world are trying to harness the power of the sun to run various gadgets, appliances and transportation mediums. You must have heard about the solar powered cars, gizmos, planes, helicopters. What about a solar powered submarine?
How can the sun’s rays fall on the panels underwater?
Solar panels comprising of solar cells are responsible for converting the solar energy into electrical energy.So a submarine would feature solar panels on it, right? Wrong, it would be pointless to put solar panels on a submarine. The sun’s rays will not be able to reach the panels, at the depth at which it travels. Then how can a submarine run on solar power? The answer is a charging station on the surface. So it is a solar powered submarine, though more of an indirect approach rather than a direct sun to submarine conversion.
A Swiss company called BKW has launched the project ‘Goldfish’. Under the project, a team of eminent engineers would build a solar powered submarine. The submarine would be 20 to 30 meters in length and is proposed for use by tourists on/in the lake Thun. The submarine would dive down at 300m and take the 20-30 people on board for the lake’s tour, along with a crew of two people.
There could be a large modern, stylish area for the passengers to sit and enjoy the experience. To view the underwater scenes about 60-70 portholes will be around the passenger area. In order to be successful as a tourist attraction the shuttle would have to be hospitable and cater the passengers well.
We hope that it will be, as the investment in the submarine would be hefty and needs to be recovered. Meeting the operations costs and then churning out the profit would come only when the passengers are happy and want to come back.
The charging station
The charging station would be a marvel in itself. The charging station would be a huge one, where the submarine would surface and replenish power. Five round large satellites like panels would incorporate the solar panels, sizing about 300 m2.The amount of energy produced by them is estimated to be 30kW. That would be sufficient for the energy requirements of the floating charging stationand the submarine. The charging station would also serve as theboarding and arriving station for the passengers.
The company behind the project has already created the world’s largest solar powered ship in 2001, along with other achievements. We can expect a good and feasible deign of a solar powered submarine from them. The solar-powered submarine will create a huge impact on the way we transport in water.
Using solar power for a tourist use submarine sounds quite an outlandish idea. It really isn’t once you realize how effectively it can work.