Sail-World – Back in March of this year we reported on the “World’s Largest Solar Powered Boat.” On September 27, 2010,
after many months of planning and construction, a very large solar solar-powered yacht called Planet Solar set out from Monaco on a 31,000 mile trip around the globe. Its goal is to be the first to circumnavigate the globe in a ‘solar’ boat, i.e. one powered by a silent, pollution-free electrical engine, driven exclusively by solar energy.
It is estimated it will maintain an average speed of 7.5 knots per hour. At that speed it should take about 160 days to travel around the planet.
The multihull will be home to four sailors during the round-the-world attempt, and can accommodate up to forty people during the promotional trips planned at each port of call.
Travelling on the extraordinary craft are a multinational crew. First, there’s Swiss National and President of the Solar Planet Foundation, Raphael Domjan who is a co-founder of the project, and French National and Ship’s Master, Patrick Marchesseau, an experienced professional sailor. His long experience includes being Captain of Le Ponant, the yacht that was hijacked and held for a week in 2008.
The rest of the crew are Mikaela von Koskull (Finnish) – First Mate, Jens Langwasser (German) – Bosun, Christian Ochsenbein (Swiss) – Energy management and Daniel Stahl (German) – Electrician.
At the age of 37, founder Raphaël Domjan conceived the PlanetSolar concept, and he has done everything possible since to turn his dream into reality. Someone who genuinely ‘dabbles in everything’, Raphaël Domjan wears several hats and increases activities he takes part in that are closely connected to man and nature: an ambulance driver, high mountain guide, rescue specialist in perilous environments etc.
He says that it is Passion that drives him on, and that passion has this time succeeded in getting the project off the ground.
While the PlanetSolar project is an extraordinary technological and human challenge, it is also an expression of the world-view of Raphaël Domjan and of the team he has built around him:
That our planet deserves a better, brighter and less polluted future. Future technologies must be keenly investigated and solutions must be found. The project will help to motivate engineers and scientists to develop innovative technologies, inspire people around the world, and show that the impossible can become possible.
About Planet Solar:The vessel itself, PlanetSolar, is a multlihull vessel topped by a large array of photovoltaic solar panels, constructed by Knierim Yacht Club, in Kiel, Germany. Additional removable parts allow it to expose a total of 537 m2 of photovoltaic surface (solar panels) to the sun.
This impressive data make it the biggest solar run ship in the world. Built in 14 months, the boat has impressive dimensions and is yet both silent and clean. Its goal of circumnavigating the world at an average speed of 7.5 knots is no mean feat for a solar-powered craft.
Planet Solar Specs:
Length: 31 m
Width: 15 m
Length with flaps: 35 m
Width with flaps: 23 m
Height: 6.1 m
Weight: 95 t
Surface of solar modules: 537 m2
PV panel efficiency: 18.8 %
PV installed power: 93.5 kW (127.0 HP)
Average engine consumption: 20 kW (26.8 HP)
Average speed: 7.5 kt (14 km/h)
Maximum speed: 14 kt (25 km/h)
Crew: 6 people
People that can go onboard: 40
Autonomy: Never-ending solar navigation
The boat’s top covered with the photovoltaic solar panels gives it a capacity of 93.5 kilowatts of electricity. It cost about $13 million to construct and was funded by Rivendell Holding AG, a Swiss company renewable energy investment company.
Subject to change, stopovers will take place at the following cities: Miami, Cancun, San Francisco, Sydney, Singapore, and Abu Dhabi.