June 16, 2022

There were some significant engineering obstacles to overcome for the GBRow Challenge. - Jon

One of the biggest considerations for the microplastics sampling system is around power consumption.  We wanted to be able to pump as much sea water through each filter as we could on each day of the race. Unfortunately we only had the power we could take on the boat at the start of the race. Although the GBRow boats have solar panels fitted, these are all needed to top-up power in the batteries for essential boat systs such as the watermaker, navigation, lights and communication. With limited space and weight allowance on the boats we selected a battery with about 1000 watts of usable power.  This power would be able to run a hairdryer for only about 30 minutes. We have to power the hydrophone (for sound recording) and the microplastics sample collection system for the full 30 to 40 days!  By undertaking extensive testing over the winter, we worked out the best water flow we could get for the power we could spare each day and to get about 3 hours of runtime on the sampling. We have set the pump controllers to that level and expect to collect microplastics from about 130 litres per boat per day. The All Systems Row boat is set to run a little faster as we dont need to power a hydrophone on their boat.  The batteries have a tough time ahead. It wont just be the crews that are exhausted at the end of the race 🙂!

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