GrabCAD, a mechanical engineer community recently interviewed Christian Ochsenbein, a lead engineer with PlanetSolar, a catamaran, which recently became the first solar electric vehicle to circumnavigate the globe after 19 months at sea.
Christian was responsible for the energy system, on board electrics and for maintaining the propulsion system for PlanetSolar. GrabCAD reported that twice they experienced a black-out of the energy system. Christian explained, “It was very important to understand the system to be able to find and solve the problem. But, all in all, I am very happy how all the new technologies, like batteries, solar generator, motors and energy system worked on board. We had very few issues with the high-tech equipment.”
There were four crew in total on board PlanetSolar, including a captain, expedition leader and bosun, Christian had a range of responsibilities which included shifts on the bridge to take control of the navigation for three hours stretches twice a day.
When asked what would become of PlanetSolar now, Christian said, “For this summer the Tûranor PlanetSolar will stay in the Mediterranean Sea and will go to different events in various cities.”
The aim of the project was to become the first people to travel the world by a sun-powered boat and to communicate that solar technology works. Christian and the crew successfully achieved this mission and during the tour, managed to visit 27 countries.