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First Around the World With Solar Energy

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This solar powered ship has successfully traveled around the world with a crew of 4 running completely on solar power from a 93KW solar array running a 20kw electric motor...... 
According to the Official Planet Solar Team :

"The designer of PlanetSolar, Craig Loomes from New Zealand, has already imagined numerous innovative ships around the world. Several months of research enabled to finish the ideal dimensions and design of this double hull vessel with respect to the chosen journey. Engineers had to optimise the energy collection and stocking but also the aerodynamics, the ship’s propulsion and the choice of materials. The incredibly light carbon structure of this futuristic vessel with electric motorisation is extremely durable."

"PlanetSolar is the biggest solar ship in the world. The 537 m2 of photovoltaic panel power 6 blocks of lithium-ion battery, a technology that offers maximal power and energy density, thus enabling a navigation time that is unmatched to date! Indeed, each new sunrise provides the catamaran with the light needed to continue its journey…"

"Baptised Tûranor PlanetSolar, which means power of the sun in J.R.R Tolkien mythology, this clean and quiet vessel has been launched in March 2010 in Kiel, Germany, in the shipyards of Knierim Yachtbauafter 14 months of construction." 

The Global Circumnavigation Route Taken By the Planet Solar Ship During it Journey Around the World
A Project Dedicated To Our Planet 

"In Spring 2004, the seed of an idea a little crazy germinates in the mind of Raphael Domjan. He is 39 years old and Swiss. He was trained as an electronics engineer but he is also ambulance man, jet and glider pilot, and mountain guide. In love with Nature, he is a Jack of all trades and a fervent defender of clean energy. Like others, he feels that we rapidly need to find alternatives to our wild oil consumption but that, at the same time, the huge potential of renewable energy still need to be proven and promoted."

The Visionaries Behind This Project
"Unknown to the general public but citizen of the world, Raphael then imagines an extraordinary adventure inspired by his reading of Jules Verne’s novels : Travelling around the world aboard a ship which is being propelled by solar energy only! An ecological and technological journey that looks feasible to him but that no one has ever tried. But there is everything still to do, seeking partners, putting a team together, designing a ship…"

"The dream starts taking shape in February 2008 thanks to a meeting with M. Immo Ströher who has a long-standing interest in solar technology and possesses a solid experience in that matter. The German businessman and the Swiss Phileas Fogg are becoming partners. By combining their capital, their ideas and their inexhaustible energy, Raphaël Domjan and Immo Ströher want to demonstrate that a motor vessel can function from today without using any fossil fuel and that this clean and eco-aware navigation has undoubtedly a commercial future. After two years of designing and assembling in Kiel’s shipyards, this idea has become a project and the result is a boat that remains unique so far: the Tûranor PlanetSolar."

"Beyond the dream and the emotion that this adventure creates, the PlanetSolar project brings together an international team made up of physicians, engineers, shipbuilders and sailors that contribute day after day, miles after miles, to the success of first trip around the world using solar energy."

I had been dreaming of this idea myself, only in land vehicle fashion. I have envisioned a large tractor trailer truck with a huge solar array on the top of the trailer and a natural gas power range extender. It would have to be purpose built to optimize aerodynamics and range with LRR tires. A large energy storage system would be used to store power regenerated when the electric solar truck was descending slopes and coming to a stop. 

I have also been dreaming of a solar power train: an electric high speed rail with solar power generation distributed along large sections of track. Direct DC energy would feed the batteries and electric drive system of the diesel hybrid trains: offsetting their diesel consumption.
How refreshing to see that others are translating these ambition visions into reality ! 


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