Crossing the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans aboard the solar-powered catamaran “NOVA”

Between 2021 and 2022 Fedor Konyuknov plans to attempt the first solo crossing of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans aboard a solar-powered catamaran.

Part of project NOVA is the construction of an 11m ocean-class catamaran equipped with electric motors and solar modules.

 

The first stage of the expedition will see Fedor Konyukhov cross the Atlantic solo with the following route: “Canary Islands – Antigua” in March 2021. The distance of this route is approximately 3,000 nautical miles, and it is estimated the journey will take 25 days to complete.

The second stage, taking place in January 2022, will see Fedor cross the Pacific Ocean along this route: “Chile – Australia”, with a distance of around 9,000 miles and taking up to six months.

The unique catamaran is being designed by British designer Phil Morrison, who has previously designed all three of Fedor Konyukhov’s rowboats (the “Uralaz”, “Turgoyak”, and “AKROS”). The construction of the vessel will take place at the UK shipyard Rannoch Adventure.

Measuring devices will be installed aboard the NOVA catamaran, in order to monitor the work of the solar modules and on-board batteries. The data retrieved will be given to the project’s technological partners, as well as being used for project “Albatross – a non-stop flight around the world on solar energy”.

During his crossings, Fedor Konyukhov will keep a video diary and make ecological observations of the ocean, daily noting the presence of plastic waste in the ocean.

Dmitry Mramorov, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of SKB Contour said: “Once more Fedor Konyukhov is faced with a daunting task – to cross alone, aboard a unique vessel, two oceans powered only by the energy of the sun. Not only will the journey once again push the boundaries of human capabilities, but it will also be an experiment – this time an ecological one. We will be observing a true phenomenon in our contemporary – Fedor Konyukhov – a person whose extraordinary accomplishments are attributed to determination, discipline, faith, experience and quality preparation. People like Fedor Konyukhov radically broaden the horizons of human possibilities and our perception of the world we live in. We support this project and we hope that solar energy and Fedor Konyukhov will help bring this project to life”.

Technical specifications of the NOVA catamaran: 

Length
11.25 m
Width
7.25 m
Weight
2.2t
Battery weight
528 kg (24 batteries, weighing 22 kg each) Victron Lithium
Hull material
Carbon fibre
Solar Panels
66 m2

 

In accordance with the project, the total surface area of the primary solar modules, horizontally laid on the upper deck, is 51m2 with a peak output of 9 kilowatts. This is estimated to give, in average conditions for the time and place of departure, the capacity to generate 32 kilowatt hours (kWh) per day.

In addition the surface area of the solar modules installed on the hulls and angled toward the horizon is 15 m2. This addition allows for an extra yield of 4kWh per day from the illuminated side.

In accordance with the order by the Fyodor Konyukhov Expeditionary Headquarters, special cells on a flexible substrate were manufactured at the “Hevel” Scientific and Technical Centre in St. Petersburg. The task of scientists from the scientific and technical centre was to make cells resistant to the corrosive aquatic environment and ultraviolet radiation and with the lowest possible weight.

“Today, Russian technology and our accumulated experience allowed us to implement the most ambitious projects on water and in the air. One of the key values of such cooperation for us, as a manufacturer, is to develop effective solar solutions in the most strenuous conditions for their subsequent mass production and usage in wide applications” said Igor Shakhrai, CEO of the “Hevel” company group.

The power consumption of the two electric motors to achieve the designed speed is 1.5kW requiring a supply of 36 kWh to run 24 hours. In addition a battery capacity of 60 kWh allows for the motors to operate continuously for 40 hours, which will alleviate the negative impact of cloudy weather and cloud cover. On the other hand in ideal conditions the motors will be able to be run at increased power.

It is worth noting that Fedor Konyuknov has significant experience with nautical expeditions. During his whole career, he has completed 5 solo circumnavigations and three oceanic crossings aboard a rowboat:

1990-1991 The first solo circumnavigatory journey in Russia’s history aboard the “Karaana” yacht (36 foot). Route: Sydney (Australia) – Cape Horn – Equator – Sydney. Time taken: 224 days.

1993-1994 – Second solo circumnavigatory journey aboard the dual-mast ketch “Formosa” (56-foot). Route: Taiwan – Hong Kong – Singapore – Yemen (Port Aden) – Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) – Suez Canal – Gibraltar – Casablanca (Morocco) – Saint Lucia (Caribbean Islands) – Panama Canal – Honolulu (Hawaiian Islands) – Taiwan – city of Nakhodka (Russia). Time taken: 519 days.

1998 – Third solo circumnavigatory journey as part of the race “Around Alone” aboard the yacht “International Humanitarian University” (60-feet). Route: USA – RSA – New Zealand – Cape Horn (Chile) – Uruguay – USA. Time taken: 243 days.

2002 Solo crossing of the Atlantic ocean aboard the rowboat “Uralaz” (7m). Route: Canary Islands (La Gomera) – Barbados. Time taken: 46 days.

2004-2005 Fourth solo circumnavigatory journey aboard a the yacht “Trading Network “Alye Parusa” (85-foot). Route: Falmouth (England) – Hobart (Tasmania) – Falmut (England). Time taken: 188 Days

2007 Fifth solo non-stop journey around Antarctica for the “Antarctica Cup” race aboard the yacht “Trading Network “Alye Parusa” (85-foot). Albany (Australia) – Cape Horn – Cape of Good Hope – Cape Llewin – Albany. 102 days

2013-2014 Solo journey aboard the rowboat “Turgoyak” (9m). Route: Con-Con (Chile) – Mooloolaba (Australia). Time taken: 160 days.

2018-2019 The first in history solo crossing of the South Pacific ocean aboard the rowboat “AKROS” (9m). Route: Port Dunedin (New Zealand) – Diego Ramirez islands (Chile, Drake Passage). Began – 6 December 2018 Finished – 9 May 2019, over 154 days, 13 hours, and 27 minutes covered, a total distance of 11,525 kilometres, or 6.2 thousand nautical miles.

 

During this crossing, several world records were set:

  • Longest distance covered in the “Roaring Forties” and “Furious Fifties” latitudes – 11,525 km
  • Southernmost point reached aboard a rowboat – 56’40 degrees South
  • Largest number of days in the Southern Ocean – 154 days
  • Oldest solo ocean rower – 67 years old

The goal:

  • Completing the first (in history) solo crossings of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans using solar energy;
  • Testing a Russian-made photovoltaic cells in marine conditions under constant use over a prolonged period;
  • Carrying out battery testing over a prolonged period while under a constant load. The results from solar cell testing from the catamaran project, including the long-term field tests will be used by the Albatros project.
  • Working with leading Russian oceanographers and scientific institutions to monitor ecological factors such as pollution of the Atlantic Ocean by microplastics. The catamaran is fitted with a sea-water filter. Fedor Konyukhov will gather data daily throughout his journey.
  • Ecologically, unmanned oceanic vessels will be instrumental in monitoring pollution in the world’s oceans, as well as factors such as climate change and oceanic salinity.

The technological task: testing electric unmanned ocean craft technologies and solar modules as a power source.

 

PARTNERS OF THE PROJECT

  • ROTEC – official partner of the project
  • Rostselmash – official partner of the project
  • SKB Kontur – official partner of the project
  • Jaguar Land Rover – Official automobile of the project
  • Red Fox – official supplier of the team’s equipment
  • DHL Express – official logistical partner for the project
  • Iridium – official satellite communication provider for the project
  • Iridium360 RockSTAR – official satellite tracker for the project
  • Lenovo – official supplier of office equipment and mobile phones
  • OPEN STOCK COMPANY “NTC TPT” – official solar panel supplier
  • UMATEX – official supplier of carbon fibre

 

 

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