Raise the solar sails

The world’s largest catamaran on the basis of solar energy, “MS Tûranor PlanetSolar” was built on 31 March 2010 in Kiel, Germany, in the shipyards of Knierim Yachtbau. The idea of the project were the Swiss adventurer Rafael Damian and a German businessman Immo Stroher. One of the sponsors was made by the government of Switzerland.

A team of engineers under the leadership of Craig Lumes of LOMOcean Design, New Zealand spent many months of preliminary study before it was chosen the perfect size and the design of the future vessel, optimized schema collection and storage of solar energy. The construction of the catamaran “MS Tûranor PlanetSolar” took 14 months. The final cost of the project amounted to 12.5 million Euros.

I wonder what his name the 31-metre catamaran partially bound George. R. R. Tolkien and his “Lord of the rings”: “Sindarin”, the language of the elves of the Western part of middle-earth, the word “Tûranor” in the name of the ship means “the power (tûr) of the sun (anor)”.

As the main body material of the “MS Tûranor PlanetSolar” is used incredibly lightweight and durable carbon structure. The vessel is equipped with photovoltaic panel powering 6 blocks of lithium-ion battery with a total weight of 8.5 tons, covering an area of 512 sq. m. the Batteries feed two synchronous electric motor with a capacity of 60kW (1600 rpm) so the “PlanetSolar” has a maximum speed of 14 knots (26 km/h). Cruise speed is 7.5 knots (13.9 km/h). Entering the port of “PlanetSolar” cleans part of a solar panel, reducing in size and becoming more compact, and again reveals its solar sail in the open sea.

In the period from September 2010 to may 2012 “MS Tûranor PlanetSolar” made its first cruise around the world, using as energy source exclusively to the sun. On its way the ship and his team of 4 people met a lot of troubles and various difficulties, but successfully coped with all tasks and prove to the world that the door to secure the future of photovoltaic energy is open.

In 2013, the University of Geneva have expanded the scope of research programmes and catamaran took part in the new scientific missions along the Gulf stream, turned on the research platform. One of the self-achievements of the “MS Tûranor Planetsolar” last year was the negotiation on their own and setting a new record for crossing the Atlantic: the catamaran had managed to navigate the route from Las Palmas to Saint Martin in 22 days.

Winter Parking “MS Tûranor Planetsolar” is the port of the Cité de La Vuale Eric Tabarli in Lorient, France, where in a free from regular maintenance time catamaran available for tours. Meanwhile, at the University of Geneva team “MS Tûranor Planetsolar” is preparing for new expeditions. Among the planned routes – the Mediterranean, West Africa and South Atlantic, where the ship will again be able to show their exceptional ability for new scientific research and discoveries.

    Egor Lanin
    Author ruYachts

    Journalist, news editor. The team ruYachts.com 2014. Major topics: motor yachts, concepts, gadgets and technology.

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  • © Photo-materials: MS Tûranor Planetsolar

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