On September 27th, 2010, the MS TÛRANOR* PlanetSolar have passed its starting line close to Monaco port, with a distance of approximately 50,000 kilometers across the oceans ahead. On a round-the-globe expedition, the TÛRANOR* PlanetSolar is a pioneer for sustainable energy technology on water. It is different from anything that has happened in the field of mobility so far. This solar catamaran employs the leading-edge technology available on the market. The intention is to demonstrate that by innovative use of existing materials and technology, high-performance solar mobility can be realised today.
The German entrepreneur Immo Ströher, the owner of the boat said : "We want to help drive forward the development of sustainable energy technologies on the water and in other mobile applications. The aim is to offer future-proof solutions for sustainable living in major cities and environmentally responsible mobility concepts, solar mobility can make a significant contribution to this endeavour".
Swiss project founder Raphael Domjan said before the boat left Monte Carlo: "The entire PlanetSolar team is very happy to launch the first solar boat expedition here in Monaco. Planet earth deserves it, that we use its resources wisely and employ the immense power provided by nature sensibly."
In Monaco the battery charging modules (for external power supply) and the emergency backup power unit were notarially sealed – officially for entry in the Guiness Book of World Records. The journey that lies before: 360 longitudes, to cross the equator line two times, and the mission to return with the same amount of load capacity that it departed with, namely 93%.
The crew of six will circumnavigate the globe solely with the aid of solar power. Captain with his great wealth of experience is the French Patrick Marchesseau, furthermore Christian Ochsenbein (Bern, Switzerland); for the navigation Michaela von Koskull (Finland) and Jens Langwasser (Kiel,Germany); as well as project initiator Raphael Domjan (Yverdon-les Bain, Switzerland). On its first leg of its journey MS TÛRANOR PlanetSolar will cross the Atlantic.
The current routing around the globe (subject to favourable weather and nautical conditions) foresees stopovers in several metropoles. In Miami, Cancun, San Francisco, Sydney, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Monaco the project PlanetSolar team will inform the public about the importance of sustainability and renewable energies.
The boat will navigate around the world under Swiss flag. Duration of the expedition is expected to be minimum 6 months depending on wheather and nauthic conditions.
The state-of-the-art solar boat (31m long, 15 m wide) boasts of approximately 540 square metres decked with photovoltaic modules. Due to special batteries on board the boat is estimated to sail for about three days even without fresh solar power. The MS TÛRANOR PlanetSolar was designed by Craig Loomes from Auckland, New Zealand, who won several prizes for his outstanding yachts. Then it was built by Knierim Werft in Kiel, Germany.
Challenges of the around the world journey are:
Energy Management: Mobility shall not use more energy than provided by the power of the sun.
Efficiency: S-Mobility (smart and solar mobility) only makes sense, if the costs are reasonable and competitive. Therefore, they are mainly using materials and technology available today which have the potential to be mass-produced, thus decreasing prices and operating costs considerably over time.
You can follow the boat live with the help of Google Earth here. Next destination is Tangiers in Morocco, in the second continent of the journey: Africa, land of sun.
* The name "TÛRANOR" is derived from the Lord of the Rings Saga of J.R.R. Tolkien and translates into "The Power of the Sun".