The performance of an innovative solar-powered buoy is currently being tested by the Swedish ports of Stockholm in the Stockholm fairway.

New technology for smart navigation markers aims to improve the safety and efficiency of maritime fairways through digitization. The buoy is 10 meters high, with 3.5 meters visible above the water surface, and is equipped with an LED light. Its diameter measures 80 cm.

“The solar cells are integrated into the buoy and the batteries are specially designed to withstand freezing winters,” Stockholm ports said in a statement. “Rechargeable batteries are more durable, with an operational lifespan of between 7 and 10 years, compared to the current normal lifespan of one year. No further details of the solar cell technology used have been disclosed.

The buoy is 10 meters high and 3.5 meters can be seen above the water surface.

Image: Ports of Stockholm

Remote monitoring will be implemented for the batteries, solar cells and the light signal. “This makes service and maintenance more efficient because fewer times a service vessel has to be dispatched, which also reduces emissions,” the statement said.

The smart buoy is developed under the EU funded smart sea. Through the project, the floating and land-based navigation aids are equipped with remote monitoring and control devices as well as environmental sensors.

The buoy was developed by project partner Meritaito Ltd, a university of Finland-based channel maintenance service provider Arctia Group, which in 2020 developed a solar powered sniffer buoy for quality monitoring air and emissions.

“The Sniffer buoy can be installed almost anywhere and is easily moved to accommodate seasonal winds or changes in vessel operating routes,” Arctia said in a statement released in June 2020. “The buoy Sniffer has its own power unit, which is solar powered, so no investment in external infrastructure or regular battery swaps are required.

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