The World Wildlife Federation (WWF), in an effort to promote both greater use of renewable energy and conservation of marine ecosystems, has a 46-foot solar boat (WWF Solar) sailing around the Mediterranean.
The solar catamaran is part of WWF Spain’s new ‘Embárcate’ (Get on Board) campaign that is planned along the Mediterranean coastline for the next three summers.
“The WWF Solar is powered completely by the sun. It does not use sails, and it does not use any fossil fuels. It is a boat that causes no polltion – it does not emit any Co2 whatsoever. The Solar shows that we can easily substitute fossil fuels with renewable energy,” said José Luis García Varas, Head of the Marine Program at WWF Spain.
“The WWF Solar and its crew have already docked in the cities of Águilas, Mazarrón, and Cartagena along Spain’s southeastern coast, bringing with them an arsenal of infomation on endangered Mediterranean habitats and species, as well as tips on the sustainable use of resources in some of the last wildlife bastions along the Spanish shoreline,” WWF wrote on Friday.
The WWF Solar will visit Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) such as the Cap de Creus Canyon, home to the greatest density of submarine canyons in the Mediterranian Sea, as well as other important coastal areas in the Mediterranean in the next few years.
The WWF Solar has photovoltaic panels covering its 65m2 roof, allowing the boat to travel at an average speed of 5 knots. It can run for 90 nautical miles straight, essentially two full nights of sailing or around 18 hours, when its batteries are fully charged.
“Renewable energy is an important part of this as is raising awareness that there are many other sustainable practices, such as operating small scale fisheries, that make it possible for people and the environment to thrive,” García Varas said.
The WWF is not new to the seas. In 2007, 5 people traveled from Basel, Switzerland to New York City on this boat to set a Guinness World Record for completing the first motorized crossing of the Atlantic Ocean using only renewable energy. After completing this trip and setting the record, Swiss association Transatlantic 21 (original developers of the boat), donated it to WWF.
Here’s a video of the boat (with commentary in Spanish):
Photo Credit: WWF