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04/05/2012

Planet Solar takes solar energy to another level




On the 4th of May 2012, Planet Solar’s catamaran completed a 19 month long world tour. Departed in September 2010, this futuristic vessel illustrated the progress of photovoltaic technology and sent an optimistic signal in favor of renewable energy.


Planet Solar takes solar energy to another level
Planet Solar’s ship, named Türanor – “Power of the Sun” – after JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings mythology, symbolized an ambitious hope a few years earlier. This 31m long and entirely solar powered vessel was vowed to cross the world along the Equator. The hope of the Planet Solar staff has since then turned into reality.
Members of the project are composed of engineers and meteorologists from France, Germany and Swiss. The idea of such a world tour was brought to their mind when chief of the expedition Raphaël Domjan realized the impact of climate change by watching glaciers melting in Iceland in 2004. They therefore intended to demonstrate the potential of renewable energy along with the ability of mankind to protect the environment.

The MS Türanor catamaran is equipped of 537m² of solar panels. It is able to produce up to 600 kWh of energy when the weather is sunny. When it is not, the ship simply relies on one of the biggest lithium ion battery in the world that stocks enough energy for it to sail another 300km.
The MS Türanor represents a real technological prowess for its creators. It was indeed to first ship of its kind and size to be designed and the staff of the project had to start from nothing. It took them two years to find the components and to build a ship that was sturdy enough for a world tour. But in September 2010, the vessel finally met the sea.

Türanor sailed around the Earth through Gibraltar, Miami, the Panama Canal, the Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Red Sea before reaching back to Monte Carlo. On the 4th of May 2012, the MS Türanor had completed a 19 month long world tour, being exclusively propelled by solar energy. The city of Monaco thus greeted a tenacious lonely traveler after a 585 days trip.
The achievement of the Planet Solar project echoes the one of Bertrand Picard. In 2010, Picard’s plane, called Solar Impulse, performed a 26 hours flight with a pilot in it. He thus made a powerful example in favor of solar energy as well. As for Türanor, the catamaran broke its first record on the 18th of November 2012, crossing the Atlantic Ocean in only 26 days. These modern time adventures contribute significantly to developing the notoriety of renewable energy. Such memorable performances are actual harbingers of the deep shifts that are most likely to occur in the industry of transportation in the coming years.

Early in May 2012, members of the Planet Solar project have made a strong call for renewable energy. The solar catamaran they created finally completed the world tour it started in 2010. Along with previous technical performances, the MS Türanor is now undoubtedly a symbol of the actual potential for solar energy as well as an illustration of its reaching maturity.





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