Data published from a sea trial of a solar power system on-board a large commercial vessel has been made publicly available online.
In October 2014, the high-speed car and passenger ferry Blue Star Delos was fitted with a marine solar power system as part of a study to evaluate the use of renewable energy on large commercial ships. The vessel operated in the Aegean Sea in May 2015 while data was collected on system performance across two days.
The trials showed that under operational conditions at sea, a low-voltage marine solar power system using thin panel PV technology and energy storage could provide a continuous stable supply of power to a DC load. According to the author of the study, Greg Atkinson, founder and chief technology officer, Eco Marine Power, the power output of the system met or exceeded design expectations and the performance of the PV panels were not significantly affected by the build-up of dirt and salt.
However, there is a need to undertake analysis over a longer period, while improving the power yield by adjusting system parameters may require further investigation. Mr Atkinson believes that the impact of the marine environment on the solar panels and aluminium frames also requires further study including on how the marine solar panel array should be washed and maintained.
The solar power trial on the 2,400 passenger capacity Delos combined renewable solar power systems from Eco Marine Power and battery packs from The Furukawa Battery Company. The vessel links several islands in the Aegean Sea and often operates in harsh conditions with wind speeds of over 50 knots.
Read the full study here.