Solar Boat using Water Piston Engine Propulsion
This paper describes a solar energy system for boats, encompassing a novel Water Piston Engine propulsion. It is an environment friendly marine boat with negligible noise. The primary source of power is solar energy that powers an air compressor whose compressed air is used in the novel engine. The Propulsion system is based on a novel engine called a water piston engine. All moving parts in the classical internal combustion engine are eliminated; the piston, connecting rod, and crankshaft. Also, cams and follower valves are replaced by solenoid valves which inject compressed air into the cylinders. A water column in the cylinder is used to replace the metallic piston. The water column itself inside the cylinder acts as piston. Two floats in the Catamaran boat are used as pressure vessels to store compressed air. The Pressure derived from the compressed air tanks is directly used in providing thrust for the boat by pushing the water out of the cylinder through a 90-degree elbow as a water jet. When the water is ejected from the cylinder and air pressure inside the cylinder decreases to near atmospheric, the water that surrounds the engine fills the cylinder. Four cylinders are used to power the boat. Each two cylinders are fired simultaneously in order to maintain thrust. This system uses an Arduino microcontroller unit. Six photovoltaic solar panels mounted on the sunshade provide electric power to run the compressor. The compressor works only to recharge the air tanks when their pressure drops. Several field tests have been made in a lake. The experimental data were compared to the theoretical based data. The advantages of this novel engine over internal combustion engines are clarified. Videos of the experiments are recorded.
Index Terms - Catamaran Boat, Water Piston Engine, Solar Boat, Emission free propulsion system.