Sustainable Technological Innovation on the Water

About the solar boat and beyond

Aleid Cappenberg, editor HZ Discovery

Bringing and keeping a solar boat into service requires a lot of manual work and challenges. In addition to technical work on the boat, matters such as logistics (arranging transport to and from competitions), communications (website, contacting interested students and companies) and finances also play important roles. In order to bring on board the required expertise, the students from the Engineering programme decided to broaden their horizons. They contacted students from various study programmes, lecturers, research groups and regional companies and brought them together under the heading ‘Duurzame Technologische Innovatie op het Water’ (Sustainable Technological Innovation on the Water) and submitted a proposal for the pitch round of the Quality Agreements. After approval, the DTIW community was born. The motto of this partnership founded by HZ students is: ‘Knowledge development & sharing, knowledge testing & sharing’.

Getting started during the corona pandemic HZ Engineering student Dylan Bardolf, who has been active in the solar boat team for years, was closely involved in the above developments. He developed the submitted proposal during his Entrepreneurship minor by interviewing entrepreneurs and writing a business plan, among other things. Corona also threw a spanner in the works here. Companies are currently more reluctant to cooperate and the direct visibility of the team within HZ has, according to Dylan a tried and tested way to enthuse fellow students, also completely disappeared.

New initiatives Nevertheless, there are also enough positive things to report and various initiatives have found a place under the DTIW umbrella:

  • In collaboration with the BioBased Building research group, plans are being made for the development of a new ‘biobased hull for the solar boat (the Sealander 3) and the setting up of a living lab that will conduct research into such things as: construction, stiffness, strength, water resistance, reuse, ‘footprint’ and production;
  • An autonomous vehicle on the water, a so-called sensor drone, is being developed together with the Data Science research group. Various parties from the business community have already shown interest in this development;
  • In collaboration with the Delta Power research group, research is being carried out into hydrogen as a fuel in order to arrive at a hydrogen boat;

Solar boat as a basis The basis of course remains the HZ Solar Boat Project in the form of solar boat Sealander 2. The hard core of the group of students still consists of Engineering students, about ten of whom have been participating for two to three years., But also students from other HZ study programmes and educational institutions are increasingly finding their way to the solar boat. For example, a Business Administration student is currently working on process optimization and a student from the Associate Degrees Academy (Roosendaal) is part of the team. In the pitch round Quality funds 2020 - 2021, DTIW was able to reclaim some of the financial resources. Financial scope that is used to further expand the community and perhaps to achieve the realization of Dylan’s ‘ultimate dream for the future: “How wonderful would it be if we had a modern warehouse somewhere on the Kenniswerf in five years’ time, where we can work with different teams on boats and great innovations?”

To contact Dylan

What preceded The birth of the solar boat team started more than ten years ago. In order to give substance to their free credits in a unique way, students from the Maritime Officer study programme decided to start with the HZ Solar Boat Project in 2009. The aim of the project was the use of sustainable energy, in this case solar energy, within the maritime sector. The students developed the Sealander 1, a solar boat with which they competed in various races against fellow educational institutions at home and abroad. This led to good results. For example, at the Lago di Avigliana Solar Challenge (Italy, 2010) the Engineering team became first in the experimental class and HZ took part in the Monaco Solar & Electric Boat Challenge. At a later stage, students from the Engineering programme took over the lead.

Baptism Sealander 2 Monday, September 7, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science Ingrid van Engelshoven officially opened the academic year of HZ University of Applied Sciences. During her visit she spoke with students, lecturers, associate professors and companies. She also visited the PSD warehouse, part of HZ, where she was introduced to various DTIW projects and baptized the Sealander 2.

Video link visit Engelshoven.

Photo left to right: lecturer Engineering Ronald Eijlers, Minister of Education, Culture and Sciende Ingrid van Engelshoven, Engieering-student Dylan Bardolf and chairman of the Executive Board HZ John Dane.