The World’s Largest Solar Powered Boat

By: | July 19th, 2013

Planet Solar

Planet Solar (Image Courtesy www.planetsolar.org)

Some sailboats are beautiful drifting about on a sunny windless day, some sailboats are beautiful racing across storm tossed seas full of whitecaps and sailors clinging on for dear life and some sailboats are beautiful resting in a boatyard receiving tender loving ministrations of caring shipyard hands. Seldom is a boat beautiful in all these places and more. This is the case for Planet Solar, a unique and visionary boat zigzagging from port to port around the world bringing the message of solar power with it.

Planet Solar has eight onshore crew including Managing Director Dr. Pascal Goulpie, Communications Director Rachel Bros de Puechredon, Security Chief Christopher Keckeis, and Expedition Dr. Patrick Schoettker. The onboard team of five includes Captain Gerard d/Aboville, electrical engineer, Antoine Simon and two stewards.

Planet Solar Specifications

Planet Solar is 101 feet (31 m) in length and 50 feet (15 m) wide with solar flaps or panels on the side and back adding about 15 additional feet (5 m). Its height is 20 feet (6.3 m), draft 6 feet (1.75 m) and weight 89 tons. It’s average speed is 5 kn (9.25 km/h) and the surface area of the solar modules is 11,692 square feet (516 m²). PV panel efficiency is 18.8% and installed PV power is 93.5 kW (127 HP) with a maximal engine power of 120 kW. Average engine consumption is 20 kW (26.8 HP) and the ship can run autonomously on solar power indefinitely. The boat has a maximum capacity of 60 people.

Design & Construction Of The Largest Solar Ship

According to Planet Solar’s website:

The designer of PlanetSolar, Craig Loomes from New Zealand, has already imagined numerous innovative ships around the world. Several months of research enabled Loomes 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 516 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 Yachtbau after 14 months of construction.Plans of the boat.

The world’s largest solar powered boat.

David Schilling

David lives in Boston in close proximity to Boston University, Boston College, MIT, Harvard, Northeastern as well as Bostons leading companies and labs. You can also find David on Google+.

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