What better way to prove the potential of renewable solar energy than to sail around the world in a boat powered by nothing more that solar energy? The idea do to so in 2004 was that of Raphaël Domjan, a Swiss and CEO of PlanetSoloar SA. In 2008 the wacky idea gained traction when Raphaël Domjan met Immo Stroeher, a German entrepreneur and an advocate of solar technology. Together the two built the fantastic ship in about 18 months at the HDW shipyard in Kiel Germany. The vessel is 98 feet long and 52 feet wide. It is topped with more than 5,381 square feet and over 38,000 high efficiency (over 22%) solar cells manufactured by California based SunPower Corp. The solar cells charge over 8.5 tons of batteries which when fully charged can power the ship for up to 3 days with no sunlight at all.
Tûranor PlanetSolar was unveiled on February 27, 2010. Tûranor means “Power Of The Sun” in Elvish. On September 27th 2010 the ship set sail from Monaco on its voyage to circumnavigate the globe. The ship returned to the Monacan port on May 4th 2012 just 584 days later after hitting a whopping 52 ports of call. The world tour included unique opportunities to meet the public and to promote solar energy.
In June 2013, the vessel was converted into a scientific research platform as part of the “PlanetSolar DeepWater” expedition. Before this mission the ship was fitted with a new engine and traversed the Atlantic in a mere 22 days beating its own record by 4 days.
The 2013 campaign was a great success. With over 20,000 kilometres sailed, of which more than 8,000 were focused on science, the catamaran achieved its objective of demonstrating that it could go beyond its role as mobile ambassador for photovoltaic energy.