Swiss solar powered oceanographic research ship Turanor PlanetSolar visits London, River Thames and Canary Wharf, August 2013, fastest solar Atlantic crossing




Planetsolar travels along the River Thames past City of London council offices



The world's largest SOLAR boat powered by 809 panels: Eco-friendly vessel breaks world record after crossing Atlantic in just 22 days - and it's completely silent

The world’s largest solar boat is making London its final port of call for the weekend of September 1st and 2nd 2013, before it travels to Paris. The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar has a lightweight carbon structure and 512 square metres of panel area, or 29,124 photovoltaic cells. Launched in Florida, its DeepWater expedition has collected data along the Gulf Stream to help scientists get a better idea of climate change


The world’s largest solar boat is making London its final port of call on an epic voyage of scientific discovery along the Gulf stream.

The eco-friendly boat is capable of crossing the Atlantic ocean in 22 days, smashing the previous Guinness World record of 26 days thanks to its clever design.




Turanor Planetsolar cruising wings spread wide



World's largest solar boat comes to Canary Wharf - August 30 2013. This weekend will see a ship powered fully by solar power come to Canary Wharf.


PlanetSolar, a Swiss boat which has just returned from an Atlantic crossing, will come trhough West India Dock Pierhead at 9.45am on Saturday morning.


The World's largest solar powered ship, and the first vessel of its kind to travel round the world, will then remain at South Quay until Tuesday afternoon.


PlanetSolar is 31 metres long and travels at an average speed of less than nine kilometres an hour. It is covered in 500 square metres of solar panels.


The Turanor Planetsolar during construction in Australia




The world's largest solar-powered boat is visiting the capital this weekend as it completes a research expedition along the Gulf Stream.


The 115ft PlanetSolar Turanor will be berthed at Canary Wharf from Saturday to Monday 2 September, its first visit to the UK. The remarkable vessel made headlines in 2012 for completing the world's first circumnavigation on solar power alone.


It has spent the last four months in the Atlantic being used as a research platform by the University of Geneva. The PlanetSolar DeepWater expedition set out to take biological and physical measurements along the length of the Gulf Stream, the warm north Atlantic current that has a big influence on UK weather.


"Following the DeepWater expedition, there is now a wealth of physical, chemical, and biological data housed at the University of Geneva, and which is beginning to undergo exhaustive scientific scrutiny," Professor Martin Beniston said.


"Although the data has not been analysed yet, we have noticed some very interesting trends, especially with regards to the production of aerosols by sea sprays."


During its voyages, PlanetSolar travels at an average speed of 5 knots, with power coming from 512 square metres of solar panels. It cost 15million EURO and was financed by a German entrepreneur.




Turanor Planetsolar enters port




Launched in Florida, its DeepWater expedition sought to collect a continuous series of physical and biological measurements along the Gulf Stream, both from the water and the atmosphere, using advanced instruments onboard.

Led by Professor Martin Beniston, climatologist and director of the Institute of Environmental Sciences at UNIGE, the research team studied the key parameters of climate regulation, focusing on aerosols and phytoplankton.

Their aim is to improve the understanding of complex interactions between the ocean and atmosphere, as well as the role these interactions play in climate change.

He said: 'The PlanetSolar DeepWater expedition has allowed intensive testing in real-world conditions of a number of ocean and atmospheric instruments, some of which are prototypes.

'There is now a wealth of physical, chemical, and biological data housed at the University of Geneva, and which is beginning to undergo exhaustive scientific scrutiny.

'Although the data has not been analysed yet, we have noticed some very interesting trends, especially with regards to the production of aerosols by sea sprays,' he said.

The boat is approximately 35m long and 23m wide, depending on whether the solar panels are closed - when it is docked or experiencing very rough conditions at sea - or open, in most instances at sea.

The boat travels at an average speed of five knots and uses a staggering 512 square metres of
photovoltaic panels to power six blocks of lithium-ion batteries.




Turanor Planetsolar just before taking the plunge again



Professor Beniston said: 'The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar has positive benefits for scientific study and exploration, allowing for pollution-free research to be carried out in the vicinity of the boat.'

The boat also plays an educational role as the scientists are keen to raise awareness about environmental issues.

One of the aims of the recent expedition, which stopped at Miami, New York, Boston, Halifax and St. John’s before journeying to London, is to promote the use of solar technology.


It was designed by Craig Loomes from New Zealand after months of research into creating the optimum dimensions and design of the double-hulled vessel.

Engineers optimised the energy collection and storage as well as the boat’s aerodynamics, propulsion systems and choice of building materials.

The light scientific vessel has a carbon structure and is its name is inspired by the literary mythology of J.R.R. Tolkien and literally means 'power of the sun'.

After visiting London, the boat will cross the English Channel and will then dock in Paris, France.





Vessel's Details

Ship Type: Pleasure Craft
Length x Breadth: 30 m X 15 m
Speed recorded (Max / Average): 6.3 / 5.8 knots
Flag: Switzerland [CH] 
Call Sign: HBY4444
IMO: 0, MMSI: 269116000

Last Position Received 5 Sept 2013

Area: English Channel
Latitude / Longitude: 49,4432 / 1.0717
Speed/Course 0 knots / 262˚
Currently in Port: ROUEN, FRANCE (5-9-13)
Info Received: 0d 0h 7min ago (AIS Source: 1120)




Planetsolar's electronic helm - cost $17 million to build as a one off 





The latest British 'Bluefish' contender is somewhat longer at 43 meters (140 ft) yet considerably lighter with just 300 meters of solar panels giving more than twice the power to weight ratio of Planetsolar, which is what makes the second generation design economically viable. That will make the Bluefish platform the largest solar boat in the world, since it is also wider in the water - once it is built that is. The other key features of this advanced design are the deployment of solar energy harvesting devices (panels, etc) robotically and fully autonomous navigation control options for hydrographic and oceanographic duties. The fact the Planetsolar is being deployed in such manner is proof of concept - except that the Bluefish consortium are aiming to extend that concept into the realms of fully robotic automation - with SWASH hull technology to boost operating speeds considerably such that blue water cruising is expected to be around 7-10 knots with sprints of up to 18 knots.


Atlantic crossing from St John's Newfoundland to Falmouth UK


You may notice that the reported speed of Planetsolar differs from one media article to another. The shortest points to cross the Atlantic are from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean, some 2500 miles and from St Johns, Newfoundland, to St Levan, Porthcurno, UK, some 2200 - 2500 miles covered in 22 days is equal to 4.16 - 4.73 knots average speed. Having studied the design we can say that this is about what one might expect from a catamaran hull (large canoe) like this if leaving with fully charged batteries and with good conditions - and it is an impressive performance.


With shipping accounting for 2.7% of the planet’s total carbon emissions (air travel creates less than 2%) and with emissions from shipping potentially doubling by 2050, finding cleaner propulsion methods for cargo ships is an urgent priority.

Planetsolar is important because it proved that solar power can work. It did not prove solar power was viable - so that is the next challenge for any brave person, organisation, or company looking to steal a commercial lead.


Sailing the Planetsolar requires special skills on the part of the captain. You need to plan well ahead, look at the weather reports and decide where you’ll get the most sunshine balanced against the least resistance from the tides. Captain Gerard d’Aboville says they have not run out of power yet, so yet more proof of concept.

Planetsolar has been the platform for a study of the Gulf Stream, which was carried out by a team from the University of Geneva. To be able to spend several months in deep water and enabling air samples to be taken without contamination from the boat’s exhaust fumes made Planetsolar uniquely suited for this purpose. The data collected by the team suggests that the world’s oceans play a greater role than was previously thought in climate change.

After docking in London over the September 1st and 2nd weekend, Planetsolar is heading for Paris, then back across the Atlantic to Rio de Janeiro, where it will be studying the impact of Saharan dust on the Atlantic Ocean.







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World tour solar powered boat planetsolar to beat- limate change





Design concept  -  Raphael Domjan  -   PROMOTIONAL TOUR 2012


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Planetsolar during a refit in Monaco





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