17 November 2010
Having started its journey in Monaco in late September 2010, the world's largest solar-powered boat, the Turanor PlanetSolar, a catamaran measuring close to 31 meters in length and 15¼ meters in width, is scheduled to arrive at the Miami Beach Marina, slip A19, in Miami, Florida on Sunday, 28 November 2010 at around 12:00 PM, depending on the weather and the seas.
The catamaran is on a pioneering circumnavigation of the globe, powered exclusively by solar energy without the use of any traditional fuels. Craig Loomes of LOMOcean Design (Auckland, New Zealand) designed the Turanor PlanetSolar according to the wave-piercing concept, where the catamaran slices through the waves. This method uses less energy than conventional concepts do, where the boat rides the waves.
Raphaël Domjan, a Swiss engineer and founder of the PlanetSolar project, enlisted German entrepreneur Immo Ströher, a passionate advocate and veteran in the sector of renewable forms of energy, to join forces with him in this project. "This is a milestone in the progress of solar mobility," says Ströher, owner of Turanor PlanetSolar. "It is my vision to see solar power take its rightful place — not only on rooftops, but also on the roads, seas and … skies of the future."
The highly experienced crew of the Swiss-based project, five men and one woman, boasts expertise in navigating large yachts and managing solar energy, its storage and its consumption by electric motors. Those skills are essential assets to make Raphaël Domjan's idea of the first solar boat expedition around the world a success.
The surface of the Turanor PlanetSolar, measuring more than 530 square meters, is designed to act as a solar generator. This ensures that the catamaran can keep going for long periods (up to three days), even without direct insulation. The solar energy yielded by the generator is stored in a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery; this technology offers the maximum output and energy density.
"This voyage around the world is meant to test the long-term performance of the Turanor PlanetSolar," said Raphaël Domjan, project founder. The vessel was built by Knierim, a Kiel, Germany-based yacht builder specializing in the construction of individual yachts using carbon sandwich technology at a cost of approximately €12.5 million (EUR), or about $17.5 million (USD).
After its stop in Miami, Turanor PlanetSolar will head toward Cancún, Mexico, the site of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from 29 November to 10 December 2010.