Solar powered world 1st navigation May 2012



On the 4th of May 2012, history was made, as Raphael Domjan, at the helm of a giant of a catamaran powered only by solar panels crossed the finishing line at Monaco to become the first electric boat to sail around the world. MS Tūranor PlanetSolar, known under the project name PlanetSolar, is (@ 2014) the largest solar-powered boat in the world. The vessel was designed by LOMOcean Design, built by Knierim Yachtbau in Kiel, Germany, and launched on the 31st March 2010.


Raphael Domjan


SOLAR SKIPPER - Raphaėl Domjan at the helm of PlanetSolar.



Technical characteristics

The boat is covered in over 500 square meters of solar panels rated at 93 kW, which in turn connect to one of the two electric motors in each hull. Although its hull is capable of hosting 200 persons, the shape of the boat means that it is able to reach speeds of up to fourteen knots. The boat's hull has been model tested in wind tunnels and has been tank tested to determine the hydrodynamics and aerodynamics of the hull. This 31 meter long boat has been designed to be used as a luxury yacht after the record attempt is finished.

The boat is registered in Switzerland and was financed by a German entrepreneur. Construction cost was €12.5 million. The name Tūranor, derived from J.R.R. Tolkien's novel The Lord of the Rings, translates to "The Power of the Sun".



Turanor Planet Solar, world's biggest solar powered catamaran


Around the world

On 27 September 2010 Tūranor PlanetSolar started on a journey around the world in Monaco. With this expedition, the initiators of the project would like to focus the public awareness on the importance of renewable energies for environmental protection. The crew of six will circumnavigate the globe solely with the aid of solar power. Captain of the expedition is Frenchman Patrick Marchesseau. Other participants are Christian Ochsenbein (Bern, Switzerland) and Jens Langwasser (Kiel, Germany); as well as project initiator, president and expedition leader Raphaėl Domjan (Neuchatel, Switzerland). On 27 November 2010 the solar boat reached Miami. A significant stopover was Cancśn, during the United Nations World Climate Conference.

At the centerline of the world tour, the French Canadian Captain Erwann Le Rouzic took over in New Caledonia mid May 2011, for the further circumnavigation sharing the master's responsibility with Captain Patrick Marchesseau.

On the first solar boat expedition around the globe, the Tūranor PlanetSolar has reached two records: fastest crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by solar boat and longest distance ever covered by a solar electric vehicle.

After 584 days, Tūranor PlanetSolar returned to Monaco on 4 May 2012 having sailing around the globe. Technical problems with the propeller system had forced the vessel to stay in an Asian port for two weeks of maintenance. The vessels is now scheduled for a refit so it can be chartered to tourists in the Mediterranean Sea. Cruises are planned with 12 passengers and 4 crew on board.


Raphael Domjan with the original PlanetSolar model trimaran



LOMOcean Design

It all started with the wave piercing trimaran model that Raphael is holding above. Then the project went through a period or re-evaluation and realised that their original concept might not be such a realistic proposition, although we do like the look of the vessel (in theory).


Eventually, the innovative naval architects from New Zealand, LOMOcean Design, (formerly Craig Loomes Design) were charged to put the ideas in a second catamaran model onto paper. LOMOcean claim to offer custom boat designs tailored to the specific requirements of each client. The result is an ever expanding range of mono-hull, catamaran, trimaran and wavepiercer designs for the pleasure, commercial (ferry, tug, crew boat, work boat etc), military and super yacht markets, all of which are perfected in towing tanks and wind tunnels.





Friday, October 19th 2012


One week after having received the Global +5 Award for our 2013 scientific expedition, we have once again been awarded by the acclaimed Solar Swiss Prize 2012 in the category “Persons and Institutions”!

The Solar Swiss Prize rewards the individuals and institutions who are the most committed, the best solar buildings and the most beautiful installations.

The 22nd Solar Swiss Prize was held at the Umwelt Arena de Spreitenbach, near Zurich. In this magnificent building, which is completely covered with photovoltaic cells, Raphaėl Domjan, Immo Stroeher, Pascal Goulpié, Jan-Handrik Stroeher, Christian Ochsenbein and Victor Korewa met to jointly receive the Solar Swiss Prize 2012 out of thirty other unsuccessful candidates.

Mrs. Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, President of the Swiss Confederation, honored us with her presence and it is with much pride that we returned home with our trophy and certificate.





Marseille 2013, European Capital of Culture

The boat, which will be anchored in the Port of Marseille, will put its immense battery capacity and solar energy at the disposal of the various cultural events organized by the city, notably the “StreetMappingSolarShow”! This even will take place in 2013!

DeepWaterProject, Scientific mission studying the Gulf Stream

In partnership with the University of Geneva, the boat will take a team of scientist from Florida to Iceland, following the Gulf Stream, in an effort to collect new information and data.

It's the co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 and Professor at the University of Geneva, Martin Beniston, who will head this project.

Besides, the project just received the Global +5 innovation prize rewarded by a jury composed of prestigious members such as Greece former Prime Minister Georgios Papandréou.



Planetsolar, world's largest solar powered catamaran



SUMMER 2012 Promotional Tour


The summer of 2012 was hot and Mediterranean for PlanetSolar! The promotional tour started in Marseille where the boat and her crew were guests of honor for the European Solar Days. During the summer solstice, June 21st, in the famous catalane capital of Barcelona, the ship was moored not far from the monument of Christopher Columbus and the aquarium. After numerous VIP visits, the crew was invited by the General Consulate of Switzerland in Barcelona to share a typical Catalan meal aboard.

The crew, led by Captain Eric Dumont, headed south in the direction of the Balearic Islands. July 7th, the M/S Tūranor PlanetSolar droped anchor in the marina of Port Adriano, Calvią, designed by the famous Philippe Stark. During several days our partner Immosolar organized events for the press and public.

July 26th, it was in the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, in Cagliari, that the solar vessel made a stopover and was presented to the public with the support of the local office of tourism.


Crew of the Turanor PlanetSolar receiving a prize from Solar Agentur Scweiz


Beginning of August, the crew began the longest leg of the navigational tour, being 4 days, to arrive in the port of San Angelo Wharf of La Valette, in Malte. The stopover on this island, independent from the British Empire since 1964, took place in a tropical atmosphere, with the support of SunPower. The PlanetSolar crew was spellbound.

Next, back up north for a stopover in Carloforte, on the island of San Pietro, southwest of Sardinia. The voyage continued north and stopped over on the Island of Beauty, in the bay of Porto Veccio, on the southwest coast of Corsica. Taking practically the same course as 4 months prior, when PlanetSolar finished her world tour, the ship headed towards Monaco, in Hercules Port, where she stopped for several days. Finally, the M/S Tūranor PlanetSolar found herself back in La Ciotat, on September 10th, where she began her makeover!



Each stop was not only an opportunity for the PlanetSolar crew to present the futuristic ship to officials, who always welcomed us with enthusiasm, but also to a curious public who were captivated and enthralled by the present day possibilities of solar energy. The latest city visited was London in August 2013, with Paris due in September 2013.

We would like to express our gratitude to the crew who navigated the M/S Tūranor PlanetSolar during her voyage this summer. Thank you Eric Dumont, Thomas David, Etienne Zeitindjioglou, Cyril Guinnard amd Nikita Dumont-Rey!



Raphaėl Domjan visits the SeaVax development facilities in Sussex


AUGUST 2017 - Raphaėl Domjan is pictured here in the recently built robotics laboratory in Sussex, England where SeaVax, also a solar (and wind) powered vessel, is being developed as an ocean cleaning workboat. He is now working on SolarStratos in an attempt to use solar power to reach the stratosphere. Copyright photograph © Cleaner Ocean Foundation August 25 2017.





The wall mounted map depicts the route of the Planesolar's voyage that started on the 27th September 2010 and finished in Port Hercule, Monaco on Friday.

The wall map and circular water tank were part of a fabulous display to teach children about the catamaran using practical demonstrations. The visitors were also allowed onto the vessel itself, so that the theory was seen to be put into practice. Children and adults enjoyed the teaching facility at Planet Solar. Here children leaned how solar energy makes electricity to power an electric fan.









A cut-out cloud is used to demonstrate how solar energy works and when it doesn't - when a cloud passes over the model it stops working. This small model of the Planetsolar vessel whizzes along in the raised pool when the cloud is removed, but as soon as the simulated cloud is held over it, it stops. In real life to prevent the boat stopping like this model, there are batteries on board that store the energy ready for cloudy days and also to run the ship at night - when of course there is no sunshine.





Design concept  -  Raphael Domjan  -   PROMOTIONAL TOUR 2012


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