e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

"Mules to Joules" Tour Tests SUNY-ESF's Solar-Powered Boat

Date TBA (postponed from May 25)

Learn more about the development and construction of 'Winter Solstice' HERE.
Four SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) students will participate in a unique cruise on Central New York waters next week when they test drive a homemade boat powered by the sun.

The students' "Mules to Joules Tour" was originally scheduled to depart the Winter Harbor Marina in Brewerton at noon Tuesday, May 25, but the departure has been postponed due to high water in the canal system—new date/time TBA. They will cruise down the Oneida River to the junction known as Three Rivers, where the Oneida and Seneca rivers flow into the Oswego River. The tour will continue down the Oswego and end about 2:30 p.m. in Phoenix.

Student James "Jay" Dumpert of Kenmore, N.Y., said the tour's name incorporates the historic use of mules to powerboats on the state canal system, and also the name for a basic unit of energy.

Next month, the students will take the boat, dubbed "Winter Solstice," to Buffalo to compete in the 2004 Solar Splash, a major competitive event in the world of solar/electric boating. Around 25 teams from the United States and Canada are expected to compete. The event includes technical inspections and events on the water.

"Winter Solstice" is a 16-foot-long, single-passenger boat powered by energy harvested from the sun by photovoltaic panels. The fiberglass craft weighs 40 pounds. The battery powers a motor-driven propeller. Local businesses donated time and funds to the project.

The students constructed the boat as a senior project for a class in environmental and forest engineering, and presented their plans on campus in April. Actual work on the design and construction began months earlier.

The Solar Splash will be held June 16 to 20 on Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park, Buffalo.

Dumpert worked on the project with students Gary Fontaine of Utica, Deborah Ketola of Syracuse and David Smith of Baltimore, Md. The rain date for the tour is Thursday, May 27.

Read a related story from syracuse.com here: Sun-powered voyage

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