Futuristic Catamaran to Attempt First Solar-Powered Circumnavigation

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Planet Solar PV powered boatPlanetSolar, when completed and covered with 1500 square feet of solar panels, will be the largest solar powered ship in the world. A ship with an audacious agenda: to be the first to circumnavigate the globe powered solely by solar energy.

“In 2010, the first round-the-world trip powered by solar energy will be realized, with stopovers, along the equator, where the maximum amount of sunlight is available. The over 40,000-km voyage will last 120 days, for an average speed of 10 knots. PlanetSolar’s two-man crew will cross the Atlantic Ocean, the Panama Canal, the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean and finally the Suez Canal, to return to the Mediterranean.”

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PlanetSolar ship

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The PlanetSolar project is being funded by Rivendell Holding AG, a Swiss investment firm that funds renewable energy technology, and is planning to make the world tour attempt in 2010. The founder of the project, Raphaël Domjan, is teaming with Gérard d’Aboville, a maritime legend for being the first to row across the Atlantic ocean, for the voyage.

The ship is still under construction, but when built will be 98 feet long and 50 feet wide, plus some additional surface area exposed when unfurling its solar ‘sails’. The ship is being built in Knierim Yacht Club in Kiel, Germany.

Planet Solar

The aim of the project and the voyage is to promote renewable energy, and a traveling exhibition called ‘PlanetSolar Village’ will precede the launching of the vessel to educate and spread the word about the mission.

“Our society is dependent on fossil fuels which are in limited supply and which are causing measurable negative effects on the earth’s atmosphere. Within the current context of greenhouse gas taxes designed to promote a greater respect for the environment, as well as the relentless rise in oil prices, it is now time to demonstrate the potential that renewable energies have to offer in the area of mobility. Preserving our planet — by promoting solar energy, energy efficiency and sustainable mobility — is therefore what this project is all about”

For more background information and photos about the project, see PlanetSolar’s site.

[Via Wired]


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Derek Markham

Derek lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, fungi, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves fresh roasted chiles, peanut butter on everything, and buckets of coffee.

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