PlanetSolar, the First Solar-Powered Round-the-World Voyage
In a few hundred years time, although we don’t realize it now, the key defining moment of the the 21st Century, may well be seen to have been the society’s transition to renewable energy.
Just as many inventions of ancient times and the great people behind them, were hardly known in their own lifetimes, the pioneers who brought renewable energy into the main-stream through the publicity they generated, may in the future be proclaimed as planet-savers.
A great example of this is the role of PlanetSolar and their record “firsts” for their solar powered ocean-going boats Sun21 (first solar powered crossing of the Atlantic) and Ms Tûranor (first solar powered circumnavigation of the ocean).
2007 – PlanetSolar’s Vessel “Sun21” Crosses the Atlantic Powered Only by Solar Panels
A small groups of innovators paved the way toward the next step, of a global sea voyage around the globe with nothing for power, other than boat mounted solar panels by day, and battery power using stored energy from those same panels, at night. This was a giant leap because it was copiously covered by the world’s press. For the first time, it could be seen that travelling under power in some comfort was possible. Not only that, it was abundantly clear that this was a very “green” achievement, once the embedded carbon used in building the vessel, was discounted.
The “Sun21” is a full-sized motor powered catamaran. Its admittedly leisurely voyage across the Atlantic ocean was done without consuming a drop of fuel. Motive power came solely from solar energy, and it powered the 5-man crew from Spain to the United States at an average speed of between 5 and 6 knots, around the clock running its electric engines. This was a major achievement, it demonstrated that solar power technology could deliver a reliable, long-distance, powered vehicle. Not only that the fuel costs were zero people could see that the way was open for a cleaner, much more sustainable, and in time cheaper, way to live from the sun’s abundant resource.
The challenge was developed by Marc Wüst, a Swiss shipbuilder and the manager of MW-Line. The design and fabrication of the Sun21 and journey expenditures were moneyed by a group of optimistically positive individuals calling themselves the “transatlantic21 Organization”.
The 12 tonne, 14 metre long catamaran used the existing tried-and-tested design of the MW-LINE’s “Aquabus C60”, which is effectively being utilized as a cruise line boat in Europe. Twin electrical motors provide sn output of 8kW each to push the watercraft to a highest velocity of 7 knots, which is reduced to 5 knots during low fuel consumption long-distance 24 hour cruising. That’s not so shabby! Its about comparable to the rate of sailing private yachts.
With the first challenge completed, PlanetSolar set their sights on the world’s biggest challenge for a sailor, and building a new larger and more powerful vessel.
2010 to 2012 – The Tûranor PlanetSolar Completes the First Global Circumnavigation
The Tûranor PlanetSolar was the first boat, a hydrofoil equipped catamaran, to circumnavigate the globe using solar energy alone. It was solely powered by solar panels and it pulled off this feat in 584 days over the period September 2010 – May 2012. It is still believed to be the world’s largest solar boat, clad as it is in 536.65 m² of photovoltaic panels.
The route the voyage took began, and finished, in the Principality of Monaco. That it was successful is a remarkable achievement, because this was the first global circumnavigation ever attempted using only solar energy from solar cells. It is a catamaran from a German ship manufacturer and it was designed by a New Zealand-based team (LOMOcean).
To provide a few facts let us just say it is 31 m long and 15 m wide, and it weighs over 85 tons.
It moves at an average speed of around 5 knots, and its name, Tûranor, was inspired by the Elvish language coined in the books of The Lord of the Rings, where it means “power of the sun”.
The appealing idea behind this effort developed in Switzerland, from the mind of the eco-entrepreneur and also eco-explorer Raphael Domjan, an energetic engineer that likewise pilots jets and performs rescues, who has recognized that the massive prospective should be shown for renewable energy, as well as publicized to a wider viewers. The key objective of the project was to focus on creating, and demonstrating the use of this modern technology for a healthy and environmentally well balanced earth in the future.
The team could not think of a better way to promote renewable energy than a spectacular trip around the world. This was one of those great eco-adventures. And is similar in its epic proportions to the first global solar propelled flight which was achieved a few years later.
It was seen as fantastic way to show that solar panel technology is efficient and safe, and has no doubt been very effective in raising public awareness and stimulating investment in research on clean energy technologies.
Ports of call, from Miami to Cancun, via Brisbane, for the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar has brought glamour and fame to the world of renewable energies. The MS Tûranor has also received an award. The European Solar Prize 2013 in the “Media” category, was won by the vessels designers for the unparalleled level of publicity generated by its planetary trip.
The PlanetSolar Foundation continues to travel the world. In 2013 Tûranor was involved in a notable scientific voyage cruising along the Atlantic Gulf Stream. While collecting previously unknown data for science.
The catamaran is additionally offered as a place for exclusive events, running solely on solar energy: dinners, cruise lines, seminars, but also social happenings, where the vessel with its standard forms is transformed right into a stage, producing a connection in between innovation and the arts.
PlanetSolar had not been truly sure what it was going to do with the 115ft solar watercraft once it had gone around the world completely on solar power. Probably it can have been become a solar-energy-powered high-end yacht or perhaps an off-shore data battery backup. The Tûranor has discovered its destiny at a higher levelr function however, as a solar-powered research study vessel.
As a voyage example, biologists, climatologists, as well as physicists aboard the PlanetSolar have been taking detailed measurements of the Gulf Stream to a lot better comprehend the relationship between the sea as well and the ecology/ climate in an effort to acquire new understanding regarding predicted global temperature changes. Particularly, they’re watching and measuring currents, particles suspended in the air called aerosols that reflect infrared warmth as well as solar radiation, and the countless organic interactions that enable the Gulf Stream to power itself. Since the PlanetSolar is emission-free, it permits the group to make certain that the collected data aren’t distorted by exhaust fumes.
However, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, the world’s biggest solar watercraft, is a real success considering that its circumnavigation has also set a brand-new Guinness Book of Records entry. It is now there in black and white, for the fastest transatlantic crossing by a vessel powered completely by solar energy. It smashed its own 2010 record by four days. To do this the 115-foot Swiss catamaran took a trip 2,867 miles (5,310 kilometers) right across the Atlantic Ocean and did it in 22 days, carrying out experiments along the Gulf Stream as a component of the PlanetSolar’s DeepWater exploration commitment.
About the video at the top of this page:
102 feet long 95 ton first solar powered electric boat to circumnavigate the World Turanor PlanetSolart stops in Miami on it’s voyage.