Powered exclusively by solar energy, TÜRANOR PlanetSolar started its world tour from Monaco in late September 2010, and reached Miami (Florida, USA) on Saturday, November 27, 2010, two days ahead of schedule.
Measuring 31m long by 15m wide, the solar energy powered boat has been designed by Craig Loomes of LOMOcean Design (Auckland, New Zealand) according to the wave-piercing concept, where the catamaran slices through the waves. This uses less energy than is required for conventional concepts, where the boat "rides" the waves.
The surface of the TÜRANOR PlanetSolar, measuring about 530 sq meters, is designed to act as a solar generator. The catamaran can therefore go for up to three full days, even without direct insolation. The solar energy yielded by the generator is stored in a lithium-ion battery.
Solar energy is collected on the catamaran by PV panels made by Solon AG (Berlin). For this project, Solon used high-efficiency solar cells made by its US counterpart, California-based SunPower Corporation . SunPower offers solar cells claimed to be 50% more efficient than conventional and 2-4 times more efficient than thin-film solar. By locating the electrical contacts on the back surface, SunPower achieves conversion efficiencies of up to 23%.
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 TÛRANOR PlanetSolar. "It is my vision to see solar power take its rightful place - not only on rooftops, but also on the roads, seas and in the skies of the future."
“This voyage around the world is meant to test the long-term performance of the TÛRANOR PlanetSolar,” said Raphaël Domjan, project founder. “When it comes to solar shipping, brilliant innovation is required: less weight, less friction, efficient propulsion, a reliable solar energy store and finally, the production of electric energy.”
Following its stop in Miami, TÛRANOR PlanetSolar will navigate towards Cancún, Mexico, the site of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, where it will participate in activities organized by the Swiss government.