Marine solar panels mimic insect wings

Edit Hook

Solarsails are constructed atop marine vehicles and can harness both wind and solar energy to help power the craft. The solar “wings” use solar panels that can track the sun but can also be physically moved by the wind to capture the most readily available source of energy at any given time.

Key Differentiators

Rather than relying solely on wind or solar power for renewable energy, this technology can capture whichever energy source is most available at the time. The Solarsails are also combined with a hybrid marine power system that combines electric drives with hydrocarbon/alternative fuels to create ocean vessels capable of dramatic decreases in fuel consumption and emmissions.

Biomimicry Story

Many species of insects including damselflies and dragonflies use their broad, flexible, panel-like wings to capture solar radiation and use it to warm their muscles and prepare them for flight. These insects also take advantage of the dual motion of their wings to allow them to manipulate the air around them and achieve remarkable maneuverability and precision in their flying. Solarsails mimic this ability to create flexible, multi-purpose solar panels and take advantage of wind and solar energy, the two most abundant natural energy sources on earth.

Challenges Solved

Renewable energy demand and need for increased fuel efficiency in boating.

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