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Solar Powered Mega Yacht Crosses Atlantic On Around The World Journey
The Turanor Planet Solar, an 85-ton , 102 ft long catamaran with a 50 ft beam crossed the Atlantic in November to claim a record for the fastest crossing powered solely by the sun. She is scheduled to arrive in Cartagena, Columbia today.
|MS Tûranor PlanetSolar anchored in the Bay of Marigot - Photo credit Planet Solar|
"Our journey is going exceptionally well," says Raphael Domjan, eco-explorer and founder of the Planet Solar project. "Just before getting to Miami, we briefly stopped in St Martin to register the fasted transatlantic crossing of a solar boat yet (26 days, 19 hours 10 minutes to cover 2.690 miles / 4.982 kilometres, the distance between Las Palmas and St. Martin). We arrived in Miami November 27 and made it to Cancun on the 7th of December, just in time for the high-level talks of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change."
Launched in Kiel, Germany last April, Planet Solar is the dream-come-true of Immo Stroeher, its 64-year old owner. Stroeher, a German entrepreneur and solar pioneer said: "The theme of this ship and its around-the-world voyage is to create consciousness about what you can do with solar energy."
The name Turanor, borrowed from Tolkian's 'Lord of the Rings,' means 'power of the sun.' The yacht's goal is to circumnavigate the world in 160 days.
This solar array provides about 103 kW of power, which is five times more than the boat needs to run silently at a speed of 8 knots, the speed of an average oil tanker. When the sun is not shining, the solar boat relies on energy stored in the world's largest lithium-ion battery - a 13 ton giant, capable of storing 1,300 kilowatt-hours of energy when fully charged. The Planet Solar team says this enables the boat to travel at 7 knots in complete darkness, and do so for about three days straight, before the battery bank is completely exhausted. At slower speeds it could run for up to 15 days according to its builders.
Implementation of the Roadmap will save an estimated 6 million gallons of oil, 9.5 million cubic feet of natural gas, 320 million kw/h of electrical production annually, which translantes into an annual saving of over 350,000 tons of CO2 emissions and consumer savings of more than $175 million per year..
The solar mega yacht will be stopping at cities along the way to share their message of environmental stewardship, and to tell the public why this project began. "Today, the boat is the most used means of transport of goods," states the Planet Solar team, "it represents single-handedly almost 1.4 billions of tons of carbon dioxide [per year] - that is 6% of the total carbon dioxide emissions, and twice more than air transport."
Team Planet Solar hopes to bring attention to the problem of shipping pollution around the world, to demonstrate the possibilities for clean sea transport, and to encourage other engineers and designers toward developing solutions to environmental problems. "Our main goal is to be optimistic and to spread optimism," says Planet Solar skipper Domjan "because almost everybody on this planet knows we have to change, but they think we cannot change. What we'd like to say to the world is, 'look, it will work - we can keep our level of life and if we use technology, it can be sustainable.'"