On Friday the world’s largest ship running solely on the power of the sun cruised into Hercule Harbor in Monaco, officially completing the world’s first circumnavigation for a 100% solar powered ship.
The vessel, a 31m catamaran named MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, is equipped with 537 square meters of solar panels used to recharge 6 blocks of lithium-ion batteries with every sunrise. Rated to 93 kW, the propulsion package and efficient hull design generates enough power for the vessel to reach speeds of up to fourteen knots.
The Tûranor PlanetSolar is the brainchild of Raphael Domjan of Switzerland who in the Spring of 2004 first envisioned the expedition based on his love of Jules Verne’s novels. Years later, construction began at the Knierim Yachtbau shipyard in Germany and she was eventually launched in March 2010.
Finally, in September 2010, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar left Monocco with a four-man crew in hopes of sailing around the world strictly on solar power. Nineteen months later; after crossing the Atlantic and Pacific, passing through both Panama and Suez canals, and navigating the treachorous waters of the Gulf of Aden, the Tûranor PlanetSolar completed its journey, breaking records for fastest crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by solar boat and longest distance ever covered by a solar electric vehicle along the way.
Now, the journey will be put together into a book and documentary film scheduled to be released in September. The vessel itself will undergo a retrofitting to allow for more passengers and will be available for charter to adventurers looking for a bit of green history.