We were successful! Here’s the boat making the first crossing of the English Channel powered directly by the sun with no batteries or other power source. This was on 23 June 2014 and took 6 hours and 59 minutes.
We were raising money for Oxfam. For more information, or to sponsor Simon in this challenge, visit Just Giving.
This is our solar boat the “AKT Solar”. We’re planning to cross the English Channel in it in late June. This will be the first time a solar boat has crossed the English Channel powered directly by the sun (with no batteries). We’re raising money for Oxfam along the way and if you’d like to donate please visit our donation page: http://www.justgiving.com/Simon-Milward2.
Here are some pictures of AKT Solar panels generating power for houses and small businesses in Sierra Leone.
From top to bottom, left to right: 2 x AKT-100-ML panels roof-mounted; Charging batteries for other people to use; Mobile phones being charged from solar; Fridge powered by solar; Charge controllers charging multiple batteries; Lights powered by AKT Solar panels.
These kinds of applications can transform people’s opportunities in places where grid electricity is not available.
Here’s a video of a Singapore student we supported to create a solar powered vaccine cooler for his engineering project. His plan is that this can be used to cool vaccines for doctors visiting remote communities far from the grid.
Between 22 and 30 April, Simon Milward undertook a record breaking attempt to “Solar Cycle” across the Sahara on a bike powered only by the sun (i.e. no pedalling or external power source). This blog contains updates as frequently as we were able to post them.
Simon has been raising money for Oxfam. For more information, or to sponsor Simon in this challenge, visit Just Giving. You can also track Simon’s progress via View Ranger GPS Tracking (updated 29 April 2013). The track starts in Spain but Simon set off on the solar bike in Guelmin in southern Morocco.
Just before entering the border post with Mauritani
The last 60 kilometres wound up and down over small sandstone mountains of up to about 30 metres high but nothing really taxed the bike and I arrived at the border after about 3 hours.
Unfortunately filming’s not allowed close to the crossing so the only pictures and video I have are from relatively far away. After the picture below was taken I went inside the crossing to see if they would let me through to Mauritania but they explained that following the problems in Northern Mali, Mauritania no longer gives visas at the border and the Moroccan side has an agreement not to let anyone without a visa into the 4km of no man’s land between the two countries.
The head gendarme was fascinated by my solar bike but even after a demonstration he still wouldn’t let me through. So I turned round and began the long journey back.
Explaining how the bike works to OFPPT Students in Laayoune
On the way back I stopped in Laayoune – the largest town in the Western Sahara – and dropped into the the OFPPT technical college as one of their professors had invited me to visit when he’d passed me on the road in his car about a week previously.
The students were very enthusiastic and after discussions with the college director, we’re going to try to set up some e-learning modules between AKT and the OFPPT so that their students can get more information from us about how to build and use small-scale solar applications.
OK, that’s it for the moment. We’ll try to produce a video and some more information about the challenge soon. Thanks a lot to those who have already donated to Oxfam and if anyone else would like to donate please just go to: http://www.justgiving.com/Simon-Milward
Also, if you’d like any further information please feel free to write directly to: firstname.lastname@example.org