PlanetSolar Continues Attempt at First Solar Powered Cirumnavigation of Globe



PlanetSolar in Hamburg, Germany.

PlanetSolar in Hamburg, Germany. Image by Dr. Karl-Heinz Hochhaus. Copyright: GNU FDL

Starting on September 27th, 2010 the PlanetSolar project’s solar powered boat is embarked on its attempt to circle the Earth and set a record for first solar powered vehicle to do so. Currently the vessel has been at sea for over a year with an overall goal of 18 months to complete the trip. Starting in Monaco, France the ship has already crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and is currently traveling through the Malacca Strait between Malaysia and Singapore. Called Tûranor PlanetSolar (Tûranor translating to “The Power of the Sun”) the ship is captained by French Canadian Captain Erwann Le Rouzic and French Captain Patrick Marchesseau.

Tûranor PlanetSolar is powered by photovoltaic panels covering 537 square meters producing an average of 94 kilowatts a day which drives two 60kW and two 10kW Permanent Magnet Synchronous Electrical Motors which propels the boat at around 5-10 knots. It was built in Germany by Knierim Yachtbau and developed by LOMOcean Design (formerly Craig Loomes Design Group Ltd.) at a cost of $26 million after being dreamed up by Swiss Raphael Domjan.

Already the project has broken two records, fastest crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by a solar boat, and longest distance ever covered by a solar electric vehicle. The PlanetSolar project’s goal is raise awareness about renewable and sustainable energy. “If we can go out on the road with this boat, it’s a huge boat, only on solar energy, and we live on this boat, everything is working the computer, the telephone, everything is on solar energy. It means everyone can use solar and renewable energy at home everyday,” Domjan said. He went on to say, “One day we won’t have any more oil anywhere. Maybe it’s in 50,100, 200 years but one day we will have no more oil and we’ll have to find another way to live.”

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