Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The World’s Largest Solar Boat

A solar boat that was being used for scientific research has docked at its final port, at least for a while. The world’s largest solar boat is called The Turanor Planet Solar and has taken scientist from the University of Geneva up the east coach over the last few months and across the Atlantic Ocean. The team of scientist was collecting water and air samples to determine how they affect climate change.

The boat was designed by New Zealand nautical architecture company LOMOcean Design. It was made by Knierim Yachtbau in 2010. It was named after the word for “power of the sun” in J.R.R Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”

“The boat has a very special look, with her expandable deck,” said one scientist. “In fact, we were two miles off the coast of Monaco when some people called the police to say there was an airplane on the water.”

The solar boat doesn’t just have looks, it is also very powerful and almost silent (even if it is fitted with lots of solar kits). Many similar ships have a loud sound as they move, but the Planet Solar doesn’t make much noise at all. It is also rumored to be very spacious, holding up to 60 people at a time. Although the boat was made for scientific purposes, it is also very stylish and comfortable.

The boat has come to rest on the Seine River as its final port of call after traveling for 3 months. Once scientists return home they will likely evaluate their collected samples. It is likely that the Planet Solar will be used in the future for similar research and other possible expeditions and adventures. Especially if Raphael Domjan, the man with the idea for the boat has his way.
The world's largest solar-powered boat has docked on the banks of the Seine River, its final port of call after a three-month voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to study how the Gulf Stream and climate change could influence each other.

It's not exactly pretty. But the MS Tûranor Planet Solar catamaran is better than beautiful: the photovoltaic panels that completely cover its deck and fold out from its sides like wings provide 93 kW of solar capacity, equivalent to about 127 horsepower. Its lightweight carbon underbody includes crew cabins and a large array of lithium-ion power storage batteries.

As the Tûranor's designers put it, every clear sunrise means a power infusion. The four-person crew have taken the Tûranor on a round the world journey, covering 60,000 kilometers, and are now docking in Paris after a five-month sojourn that included being an emissions-free lab for the Deepwater expedition. (Deepwater's task was to take Gulf Stream measurements to help know more about how the stream regulates climate patterns.)
Not only is the boat without polluting emissions, it's also silent. But piloting a solar boat is no stress-free feat, according to its captain Gérard d'Abboville, who in his blog makes frequent reference to the special skills required. The Tûranor needs a fairly constant flow of sunshine to recharge, and maintain its top speeds of 5 knots. Strong wind conditions and lower-than-normal sun all led to anxiety and a need for careful navigation during this last Atlantic crossing. After having successfully completed 60,000 kilometers of sailing and crossing the ocean in just 22 days, however, the designers of the boat at Planet Solar believe it has proved the viability of solar sailing.

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