PlanetSolar, the first circumnavigation of the world by a solar-powered boat

Friday, 18 March 2011 - 06:59 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Energy, Environment
Reading Time:  3 minutes

in Cancun © SolarPlanet

© PlanetSolar

What is the goal of the PlanetSolar team? To be the first to circumnavigate the globe in a “solar” boat, i.e. one driven by a silent, pollution-free electrical engine powered exclusively by solar energy.
With this project, the PlanetSolar team has two objectives. Firstly, to show that current technologies aimed at improving energy efficiency are reliable and effective, and secondly to advance scientific research in the field of renewable energy. PlanetSolar has already made technological developments possible in many fields, such as the production of composite materials and structures, and also the production and storage of solar energy (or electricity). Each stage in the project and each day that PlanetSolar sails will enable science to progress.

Future-oriented technology
MS TÛRANOR PlanetSolar is a multihull vessel topped by a large array of photovoltaic solar panels, constructed by Knierim Yacht Club, in Kiel, Germany. Built in 14 months, the biggest ever solar boat has impressive dimensions but is both silent and clean. The multihull will be home to six sailors during the round-the-world attempt, and can accommodate up to forty people during the promotional trips planned at each port of call.

© PlanetSolar © PlanetSolar © PlanetSolar © PlanetSolar © PlanetSolar © PlanetSolar © PlanetSolar © PlanetSolar © PlanetSolar © PlanetSolar © PlanetSolar © PlanetSolar © PlanetSolar © PlanetSolar © PlanetSolar © PlanetSolar © PlanetSolar © PlanetSolar © PlanetSolar © PlanetSolar © PlanetSolar © PlanetSolar © PlanetSolar © PlanetSolar
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© PlanetSolar
The ideal shape and size of the boat for the chosen route was determined by in-depth research. The PlanetSolar engineers have to factor in a host of parameters – propulsion, solar panel design, energy storage, materials and the external environment. A whole range of studies will need to be conducted in areas such as the boat’s hydro and aerodynamics, the materials used, the management and storage of energy and, finally, the power plant and optimal routing. It is a concentration of futuristic technology.

Technology
PlanetSolar is a catamaran that runs solely on the energy found in light. Additional removable parts allow it to expose a total of 537 m2 of photovoltaic modules (solar panels) to the sun. This impressive data makes it the biggest solar-powered ship in the world.

  • Legnth: 31 m
  • Width: 15 m
  • Length with flaps: 35 m
  • Width with flaps: 23 m
  • Height: 6.1 m
  • Draft: 1.55 m
  • Weight: 95 t
  • Surface area of solar modules: 537 m2
  • PV panel efficiency: 18.8%
  • Installed PV power: 93.5 kW (127.0 hp)
  • Average engine consumption: 20 kW (26.8 hp)
  • Crew: 6 people
  • Number of people that can go on board: 40
  • Autonomy: never-ending solar navigation

Read more on planetsolar.org and Wikipedia PlanetSolar. Learn more about the use of photos.


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