Univer­sity of Malta show­cases two in­no­va­tive de­vel­op­ments at Val­letta Boat Show

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

The Univer­sity of Malta proudly show­cased two of its very suc­cess­ful projects at the Val­letta Boat Show 2016 which took place in Cospicua last week­end. Through the ini­tia­tive of the Knowl­edge Trans­fer Of­fice, the stand was set up to pro­mote Univer­sity de­vel­oped tech­nolo­gies to a broader au­di­ence, with an aim of in­creas­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion.

The pro­to­type of the In­no­va­tive Cata­ma­ran demon­strates state of the art green so­lu­tions in wa­ter trans­port. It in­cor­po­rates the lat­est tech­nolo­gies in elec­tric drive sys­tem, bat­tery mon­i­tor­ing and man­age­ment, smart charg­ing and flex­i­ble pho­to­voltaics with in­te­grated de­sign.

The Univer­sity has been de­vel­op­ing a smart charg­ing sys­tem for elec­tric and hy­brid boats that can be tai­lored to the needs of any drive sys­tems. The aim of the cata­ma­ran is to demon­strate any con­fig­u­ra­tion of drive sys­tems, there­fore it in­cludes so­lar cells, fuel cells and con­nec­tion to the grid.

The added value of the smart charg­ing sys­tem is in the con­stant mon­i­tor­ing and con­trol of the bat­ter­ies. It en­sures that the bat­ter­ies are al­ways charged and dis­charged in the op­ti­mum way rel­a­tive to the use and source of elec­tric­ity, it can be con­trolled re­motely and in case of pos­i­tive en­ergy bal­ance, it can feed the ex­cess elec­tric­ity into the grid. The main ad­van­tages of such smart charg­ing is the ex­tended life­time and the higher per­for­mance level of bat­ter­ies, what makes the elec­tric boats more us­able and com­pet­i­tive.

The devel­op­ment is a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort of the Univer­sity of Malta, Aber­tax Tech­nolo­gies Ltd, Pete­craft Ltd, Cas­sar Ship Re­pair Ltd, Al­tern Ltd, Buc­ca­neer Boats Ltd, Cross­craft Com­pany Ltd and IBC So­lar. The project is at an ad­vanced stage, a sec­ond pro­to­type is un­der con­struc­tion with an ex­pected de­liv­ery time in the sec­ond half of the year. This will be fol­lowed by the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the cata­ma­ran by mid 2017. Be­yond di­rect ben­e­fits to op­er­a­tors, green wa­ter trans­port also con­trib­utes to sus­tain­able tourism and con­ser­va­tion of coastal area by elim­i­nat­ing CO2 emis­sion and re­duc­ing noise emis­sion, which ul­ti­mately de­liv­ers ben­e­fits to the whole pop­u­la­tion of the is­land.

The sec­ond re­mark­able Univer­sity of Malta project ex­hib­ited at the Val­letta Boat Show was KAPTAN. The equiv­a­lent Mal­tese word for ‘Cap­tain’, this is a smart­phone ap­pli­ca­tion de­vel­oped within the CALYPSO project led by Prof. Aldo Drago from the Phys­i­cal Oceanog­ra­phy Re­search Group within the Depart­ment of Geo­sciences.

Sea far­ers nav­i­gat­ing in the prox­im­ity of the Mal­tese Is­lands and south­ern Si­cily now have a new aid for plan­ning their jour­neys and safer trips. Just a few clicks on a phone app leads users to a myr­iad of sea and weather data in the form of in­ter­ac­tive maps pro­vid­ing in­stan­ta­neous user friendly and user de­fined ac­cess to pre­vail­ing con­di­tions at sea, as well as short term past and fore­cast in­for­ma­tion.

The data for this in­te­grated ser­vice to mariners is mainly de­rived from the Calypso HF radar ob­serv­ing sys­tem, con­sist­ing of HF radar CODAR SaaSonde in­stal­la­tions on the north­ern Mal­tese and south­ern Si­cil­ian shores at four se­lected sites.

Satel­lite ob­ser­va­tions added to high res­o­lu­tion weather and ma­rine nu­mer­i­cal mod­els, run at the Univer­sity of Malta specif­i­cally for the Malta-Si­cily Chan­nel, pro­vide a full suite of very lo­cal re­port­ing, and com­ple­ment other weather fore­casts de­rived from GFS/WRF mod­els and lo­cal weather sta­tions.

The phone app can be down­loaded for free for both An­droid and iOS de­vices (Google Play and App Store on iTunes re­spec­tively). The same ser­vices are also avail­able on­line on www.cape­malta.net/calypso/kaptan.

Fi­nally, a phone app cre­ated to serve lo­cal mariners, divers, wind­surfers, en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists.

A video guide is avail­able at: http://ocea­nia.re­search.um.edu. mt/cms/ca­lyp­soweb/im­ages/vi deos/KAPTAN_app.mp4

The CALYPSO project also com­prises four Si­cil­ian part­ners: Univer­sity of Palermo (Polo Ter­ri­to­ri­ale Univer­si­tario della Provin­cia di Tra­pani) as Si­cil­ian Fo­cal Point, L’Isti­tuto per l’Am­bi­ente Marino Costiero del Con­siglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (IAMC-CNR), Univer­sity of Cata­nia (CUTGANA) and ARPA SICILIA (Agen­zia Re­gionale per la Protezione dell’Am­bi­ente), and three other Mal­tese part­ners: Trans­port Malta, Armed Forces of Malta and Civil Pro­tec­tion Depart­ment.

The project is par­tially funded by the ERDF Italia – Malta Pro­gramme, Co­he­sion Pol­icy 20072013.

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