In a small but groundbreaking move, Purdue Electrical Engineering will build an electric kayak-engineered robot that is designed to repair damaged electrical systems on solar panels.
The team, led by electrical engineer Brian A. Cusumano, will work to build the electric kayaks and motors that will be used in the Solar Energy Systems Engineering Lab, or SESL, at Purdue University.
The solar-powered kayaks will carry three to six solar panels, which can generate electricity from sunlight or from natural gas.
The kayaks can be launched from a dock, but a large crane is required to pull the panels from the water.
The SESl will be designed to teach engineering students about engineering and the power of technology.
The team has developed a prototype of the solar-assisted kayaks to test its ability to carry and repair panels, but Cusamano says it will take at least two years to perfect the technology.
Cusumanomo and his team will use the new technology to replace damaged solar panel components in the field, but the team is also working to develop a solar-driven robotic arm that can be used to carry the solar panels and other solar equipment from the field to a lab or laboratory, where it can be fixed.
The robotic arm will have a mechanical ability to handle the large weight of the panels and will also have a solar control module that can automatically turn the solar panel lights on and off.
Cousmano said the robotic arm and solar control system will be integrated into the solar engineering lab.
The solar-armed kayaks, which are designed to be lightweight and portable, are designed for a crew of up to four, and will carry solar panels up to 50 feet, he said.
Solar-powered solar-electric kayaks that can tow a 50-foot solar panel, a solar panel that can carry a 50 ft solar panel.
The goal of the project is to develop solar-based solutions to solar energy generation and use in the future, Cusomano said.
The research team hopes to use the robotic kayaks as part of a small team of students who will be teaching students about energy production and energy efficiency in the near future.
Solar electric kayakers will be developed by Purdue Energy Technologies, which will be a partnership with the University of Michigan, Purdue University, and the Purdue Energy Foundation.
Purdue is also a partner with the American Solar Energy Institute.