PlanetSolar sets off across the Atlantic.

By Keith Henderson at October 22, 2010 16:23
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It was in May 2010 that the world’s largest solar energy powered ship, the MV TÛRANOR PlanetSolar. was shown off to the public for the first time, that was in Hamburg and the plan was to carry out the circumnavigation in 2011.

Since then she has been fully completed and undergone many trials in preparation for the epic voyage. There were a few issues to be resolved, for example the addition of a rudder, which was originally thought to be redundant as course correction and maneuvering could be achieved using the twin screws. When fully kited out for the voyage, her actual displacement was higher than designed and this submerged the special partial submerged propellers more than planned. This could have been a problem but the test results were so good and her performance up to specifications that she motored down to Monaco this summer.

The favorable weather prognosis for the Atlantic crossing influenced the international team of five men and one woman crewing the vessel, to bring forward the departure by more than six months. At first, the circumnavigation was publicized to be about 140 days in duration, more recently this was increased to 160 days and the estimation presently is being estimated at 8 months. A main reason for this change is that due to commercial considerations related to sponsorship, the ports of call have been changed and duration of the calls is also different. Bearing these factors in mind and that propulsion speed is dependant on weather, i.e. sunshine the latest conservative figure is understandable.

The ship set off on her voyage on 27 September 2010 and taking a southerly route, headed for the Canary Islands as a first stop. Despite running into stormy weather in the Mediterranean Sea, she arrived 21 days later in Gran Canaria. After completing maintenance and tests during a four day stopover she headed out into the Atlantic with next port of call Miami, Florida with ETA end November, beginning December. The planned route thereafter is Cancun, Panama Canal, San Francisco, Sydney, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Suez Canal and Monaco.

The 85 ton displacement ship has a length of 31 m and beam 1 5m and there is accommodation for around 40 guests. 537m2 of solar panels feed the largest lithium-ion battery in the world. Two 10kW electric motors, power a controllable pitch carbon fiber propeller. Built by the Knierim Shipyard together with HDW in Kiel, Germany, the electrical management and control system is provided by Imtech, Germany.

MV TÛRANOR PlanetSolar lying alongside in a harbour in Hamburg, Germany



Part of the 537m2 of solar panels providing the energy for the electric propulsion motors

There is a CP semi-submerged propeller on each sponson.

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