On 5 May, 2012 the world’s first solar-powered yacht MS Turanor PlanetSolar officially arrived in the port of Monaco, from where it headed in September 2010, local residents welcomed six members of the international crew from Germany, France and Switzerland, who did a truly tremendous way setting many world records.
In nineteen months of its way, the yacht crossed the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans, passed through the Panama and the Suez canals, stopped in Miami, Mexico, Australia, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and many other places. Moreover, 60,000 kilometers were overcome only by solar energy. And the nature itself seems to have decided to support the sailors — on the last day of the trip, a clear sunny weather off the coast of Corsica made it possible to obtain a record number of solar energy for all swimming — 661 kWh.
PlanetSolar is a real miracle of modern technology, it has absorbed the most advanced technologies, materials and ideas. Unique yacht was built at the Knirim shipyard in the German city of Kiel, its cost — 18 million euro. 38,000 solar cells from SunPower with high efficiency of 22%, cover an area of 540 square meters. Such a deck of the 160 solar batteries provides solar installation with power of 103.4 kW. The length of the solar ship is 31 m, width — 15 m, height — 6 m Total machine weight — 60 tons. The yacht can reach maximum speed of 27 km / h. Up to 50 passengers can be on board with the maximum comfort. Battery capacity is sufficient for a cruising speed of 15 km / h for three days if weather conditions do not allow to make refueling of the solar energy. The design project of PlanetSolar was developed under the guidance of renowned marine designer Craig Lumsa, famous for his project «pierce wave» bodies.
It is hard to believe, but the initiator of the project, as well as one of the crew members of PlanetSolar is Swiss Domyan Rafael, a former ambulance driver and instructor for mountain tourism. He managed to collect enough sponsors to build a fantastic ship on which enthusiasts have traveled around the world. «My goal is to show the world that the possibilities of solar energy are now being used not effectively and that the potential of solar energy is huge! Earth deserves us to use its resources wisely and apply great energy power, granted to us by nature in a reasonable way"- said Rafael Domyan.
On arriving home Rafael Domyan is going to get some rest, and then will start writing a book and making a documentary, which will be shown on the two-year anniversary of the start of the solar yacht sailing — 27 of September, 2012.
German entrepreneur Immo Stroher, owner of a solar-powered yacht, said in an interview with reporters: «We want to give impetus to the development of sustainable energy technologies at sea and other mobile applications. Our goal is to create turnkey solutions for the future of sustainable urban development and environmentally friendly means of transportation. Vehicles using the solar energy will be a significant contribution to this cause. «In all ports where yacht stopped to replenish the supplies of food and water, events to promote «green» ideas were held.
The idea of a «green» yacht became part of a well-known environmental policy of the Principality of Monaco. Since the signing of the Kyoto Protocol in 1998 and ratifying it in 2006, Monaco constantly is increasing its advantage in the field of environmental protection. Initiative of launch of PlanetSolar has received broad support of the Tourist and Convention Authority of Monaco, Foundation of Prince Albert II, the SBM company and the Yacht Club of Monaco.
A lot of businessmen, politicians and cultural figures were on the red carpet at the port. Among them were Ukrainians, particularly businessman Vladimir Kosterin, known for his «green» ideology (honorary chairman of the Green Party of Ukraine).
It should be noted that in addition to solving the main task — to prove the possibility of autonomous navigation using only solar energy, this cruise showed many trade companies, ways to optimize the existing fleet: some reduced speed of merchant ships, some began to establish more efficient engines, many of old vessels were equipped with solar panels to power the onboard electronics. So that the positive effects of the unprecedented travel of PlanetSolar are just starting.