Even considering all means of transportation, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is the first vehicle to successfully circumnavigate the globe solely using solar energy. After more than 19 months, the largest solar-powered ship ever built crossed the finish line in Hercule Harbour in Monaco May 4. The journey of 32,286 miles took the vessel and its crew through all the oceans and touched every continent.
“We are extremely happy to have achieved this first world tour with solar energy,” said Raphaël Domjan, the Swiss initiator and expedition leader of PlanetSolar. “We have shown that we have the technologies, as well as the knowledge, to become sustainable and safeguard our blue planet. This exploit would not have been possible without the support of our partners, and in particular without the support of the German pioneer of solar energy and co-founder of PlanetSolar, Immo Stroeher, who was personally and financially committed to the success of this unique adventure.”
Following a course close to the equator, which led through the Panama Canal and the Suez Canal, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar made many stopovers in ports in 28 countries. Stops included Tangier, Miami, Cancun, the Galápagos, French Polynesia, Brisbane, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bombay, Abu Dhabi and Quatar. The vessel departed Monaco on September 27, 2010. It made the 585-day trip without using a single drop of fuel.
“The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is much more than a ship. It has become an ambassador of solar energy,” said Stroeher, main investor of the project. “The arrival back in Monaco is only the start. We now have to take advantage of the fame of PlanetSolar in order to promote the use of solar energy.”
The Swiss government is an official partner of the project. Didier Burkhalter, Swiss Federal Councilor and head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, was also present in Monaco to see the world tour successfully completed.
“The whole country is represented through this innovative project,” Burkhalter said. “The technology, project PlanetSolar and the pioneer spirit of Raphaël Domjan and his crew is a reflection of Switzerland and its efforts in favor of the environment”.
Gareth Deaves, adjudicator for Guinness World Records, presented PlanetSolar during the welcome ceremony with the certificates for the longest journey by solar powered boat and the first circumnavigation by solar powered boat. During its journey, MS Tûranor PlanetSolar also achieved the Guinness record for fastest crossing of the South China Sea by solar power and the fastest crossing of the Atlantic by solar power.
“The successful completion of the world tour is also a departure into a new era for the operating company PlanetSolar SA,” said Stroeher. “We want to use our reputation, our contacts, our experience and our know-how in the management of solar projects for the implementation of projects in the area of solar energy, and concrete, practicable problem solutions. As a builder of bridges, we will support investors, individuals and companies to implement their solar projects that are closely related to practice in a faster way—doers for doers, so to speak.
“In a first step, we will introduce the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar to a new use,” he continued. “We are considering renting out the boat for scientific or commercial uses or even selling it. We are open for ideas and in talks with interested parties, from the [vessel ’s] use as a ‘green’ luxury yacht to scientific usages and the utilization as the world's largest mobile solar power battery, everything is possible.”
For more information, visit planetsolar.org