The world’s largest solar-powered boat was recently launched in northern Germany. The Türanor — “power of the sun” — is a 100-foot catamaran topped by high-efficiency photovoltaic panels that cover the majority of its surface. Additional panels are attached to outriggers on its starboard, port and stern sections, which can be retracted in stormy weather. The solar energy, which is stored in a lithium ion battery — considered the largest in the world — powers the vessel’s silent, pollution-free electric motor.
In 2011, the $24.4 million Türanor will embark on a round-the-world trip skippered by Raphaël Domjan of Switzerland and Gérard d’Aboville of France. The two will attempt to capture as much available solar power as possible for an average speed of 7.5 knots as they showcase the capabilities of photovoltaic technology.
According to Dany Faigaux, a member of PlanetSolar, the Swiss team behind the project, “The mission of the skippers will be to chase the sun. Up until now, sailing navigation has involved working with the three parameters of the waves, wind and tide. But we’ve added two new dimensions — namely, sunlight and the lithium ion battery. It’s a completely new form of energy management,” he says.
The Türanor will store energy in its batteries by day and can run on its stored energy in the absence of sunlight for approximately three days at 7.5 knots. The vessel will travel 34,000 miles across the Atlantic, through the Panama Canal, the Pacific, the Indian Ocean and the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean over a scheduled 160 days to prove the potential of solar energy on the high seas.
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Source: Automation Alley