After successfully navigating from Monaco to Miami and from Miami to Cancún, TÛRANOR PlanetSolar, the world’s largest solar-powered boat, is scheduled to dock at the port of Cartagena, Columbia, today in the afternoon.
The crew, comprised of Raphaël Domjan, eco-explorer and founder of the PlanetSolar project, Captain Patrick Marchesseau, Mikaela von Koskull, Jens Langwasser, Christian Ochsenbein and Daniel Stahl began their journey in Monaco on September 27. Their mission is to demonstrate that current technologies aimed at improving energy efficiency are reliable and effective. They also aim to advance scientific research in the field of renewable energy.
“Our journey is going exceptionally well,” says Domjan. “Just before getting to Miami, we briefly stopped in St Martin to register the fasted transatlantic crossing of a solar boat yet (26 days, 19 hours 10 minutes to cover 2.690 miles / 4.982 kilometres, the distance between Las Palmas and St. Martin). We arrived in Miami November 27 and made it to Cancun on the 7th of December, just in time for the high-level talks of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.”
Home of the PlanetSolar project is the Canton of Vaud (Lake Geneva Region) and the City of Yverdon-les-Bains in Switzerland. They all share the values of sustainable development, innovation and international openness. With the strongest concentration of educational institutions in Switzerland, the Canton of Vaud (Lake Geneva Region) is ideally positioned to host research and development activities in high technology, particularly in the fast growing sector of cleantech. PlanetSolar headquarter is located in the Science and Technology Park of Yverdon (Y-Parc), the largest Technology Park in Switzerland.
TÛRANOR PlanetSolar is sailing under the Swiss flag. Measuring close to 102 feet in length and 50 feet in width, the solar boat was designed by New Zealander Craig Loomes of LOMOcean Design according to the so-called “wave-piercing” concept, where it “slices” through the waves. This uses less energy than is required for conventional concepts, where a boat “rides” the waves.
The surface of the TÛRANOR PlanetSolar, measuring more than 5,700 square feet, is designed to act as a solar generator. Solar energy is collected on the catamaran by PV panels made by SOLON AG (Berlin). For this project, SOLON used high-efficiency solar cells made by the California-based SunPower Corporation. As the most efficient solar cell manufacture in the market today, SunPower offers solar cells which are 50% more efficient than conventional solar and 2-4 times more efficient than thin-film solar. By locating the electrical contacts on the back surface, SunPower achieves conversion efficiencies of up to 23%.
The solar energy yielded by the generator is stored in a lithium-ion battery (this technology offers the maximum output and energy density).This ensures that the catamaran can keep going for long periods (up to three full days), even without direct insolation.
TÛRANOR PlanetSolar will be a flagship carrying the message about the efficient application of renewable energies around the world. In addition, the solar catamaran should realize a “worldwide economic return” through further development amongst boat builders and component manufacturers and generate new business opportunities in the renewable energies sector.
The vessel was built by Knierim Yachtbau, a Kiel-based (Germany) yacht builder, specializing in the construction of individual yachts using carbon sandwich technology. The Swiss engineering firm drivetek AG (Ipsach/ Biel) was responsible for the specially developed, highly efficient propulsion technology.