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The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar Has Been Donated to the “Race for Water” Foundation and is Getting Ready for Innovative New Expeditions

14.04.2015

Docked in Venice, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is preparing to return to sea for a new mission. Announced in September 2014, the search for a new owner who would be able to continue operating the ship began in September 2014 and has been successful. After only a few weeks of discussion and one meeting in New York at a United Nations conference, the Ströher family decided to offer the solar catamaran to the Race for Water Foundation, which is committed to pursuing the ship’s operation in service of the environment.

The Race for Water Odyssey is a scientific sailing expedition that aims to draw up a comprehensive assessment of plastic ocean pollution. Marco Simeoni, the Race for Water Foundation’s President, is currently in New York, where the expedition has made a stopover. Delighted by this donation, he is very touched by the confidence the Ströher family has shown. Grateful, he reveals his vision of the solar ship’s future:

“I aspire to equip the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar with a mobile laboratory for collecting and analyzing plastic litter in order to fight against ocean pollution. The history of this unique boat and the enthusiasm she generates at each stopover are powerful communication tools that I would like to put to good use to further the cause for water preservation. Moreover, this ship represents a wonderful pedagogical platform.” 

The Ströher family is happy to have found the Race for Water Foundation, a successor with similar values that is capable of sustainably pursuing the ship’s operation in service of environmental preservation.

“PlanetSolar’s objective, on one hand, was to conceptualize an idea that would prove the efficiency of solar technologies, and help in their growth and promotion. And on the other hand, it aimed to demonstrate that above and beyond a technological feat, the ship could be used for practical purposes in connection with sustainable development,” stated Immo Ströher, patriarch of the family.

Thanks to the businessman’s financial commitment and significant personal investment since 2007, PlanetSolar was able to go well beyond its initial accomplishment—completing the first exclusively solar-powered trip around the world—to create a sustainable company with a strong brand and international notoriety.

This donation arrived at just the right moment. In fact, the “Race for Water Odyssey”, initiated by the foundation, is in full swing and extensive new scientific data has already been collected. Thanks to this donation, the foundation will be able to start making preparations for the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar’s future campaigns. The ship’s operation has been entrusted to PlanetSolar SA’s experienced teams, that are working in parallel for the promotion and deployment of renewable energies.

About the Race for Water Foundation

Founded in Lausanne in 2010, the “Race for Water” Foundation’s mission is to preserve our planet’s most valuable resource: water. The foundation is an officially recognized non-profit organization seeking to implement concrete and sustainable actions, focusing on two main themes: protecting oceans and freshwater. “Race for Water” initiates projects aimed at raising awareness and taking concrete action on the ground. These actions are directed at four target audiences: economic players, political bodies, the scientific community, and the general public—with particular emphasis on future generations. “Race for Water” collaborates with organizations such as UNESCO, UNEP, IUCN, WWF, and WBCSD.  

 


Marco Simeoni, President of the Race for Water Foundation, is delighted and touched by this donation and is looking forward to the future missions of the fondation aboard the largest solar powered boat in the world.

 

A PlanetSolar WebDoc !

15.01.2015

Dear friends of PlanetSolar,

As we near the end of 2014, a brand new kind of documentary has been devised by ARTE, RTS Discovery and Souris Verte, which looks back at the PlanetSolar adventure from its very beginnings. Get ready to dive into the world’s oceans, and experience the adventure as if you were there!

But what is a WebDoc ?

A WebDoc is a documentary that is intended to be interactive, thanks to online multimedia content. Unlike a traditional documentary, in which you have no choice but to follow the producer’s predetermined narrative, a WebDoc allows you to navigate and experience the story on your own terms.

With this WebDoc, you can completely immerse yourself in the life of the MS Tûranor and PlanetSolar.

An interactive platform lets you return to the highlights of the PlanetSolar adventure. You can navigate the story by theme, and immerse yourself thanks to narratives, animated sequences, soundtracks, and numerous illustrations.

This unusual amount of freedom lets you interact with the subject on your own terms, by turning the viewer into the main actor.

Ready ?

Are you curious and ready to discover what the PlanetSolar WebDoc really looks like?? Click on the link below to climb aboard the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar!

http://www.planetsolar-webdoc.com/

PS: Unfortunately, this exclusive Webdoc is only available in French and German. We apologize to our English-speaking friends.

Our winter stay in Venice continues… and we wish you happy holidays!

19.12.2014

The ship is docked on the island of Certosa, far away from the tourist-packed streets of Venice. To get there, you sometimes have to brave this year’s particularly strong Aqua Alta. During the cold season, the boat’s immense and futuristic curves only reveal themselves up close.

Visitors discover a ship that is far removed from her source of energy. Despite a sky that is (too) often scattered with grey clouds, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar’s cobalt blue solar panels gives her a strange silhouette that looks more like that of a spaceship. Although Helios is occasionally making his absence felt, visitors are still just as awestruck when visiting the ship’s solar deck!

During this time, the land crew is taking advantage of the winter break to get a head start on their next adventures. In fact, always keen to diversify its activities, PlanetSolar SA is working with partners to develop autonomous energy systems, meaning solar panels (or other sources of renewable energy) that connect to a storage system (batteries). These developments are notably very useful for isolated sites that are not on the grid.

In other news, we announced in September that the ship was seeking a new owner. We are now currently reviewing several interesting proposals, which we will share with you soon.

Finally, if you are still on the hunt for Christmas present ideas, we would like to remind you that it is still possible to come visit the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar during her stay in Venice! Whether you would prefer an evening on the ship, a technology-focused visit, or a cocktail aboard, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. ;-)

On that note, we would like to wish you a very happy holiday season, and we look forward to sharing more solar news with you soon!

The PLANETSOLAR team

PlanetSolar makes a remarkable entrance in Venice (Italy), and starts searching for her next owner !

04.09.2014

Launched on April 13 in Boulogne-sur-Mer (France), PlanetSolar’s 2014 campaign comes to an end today, in Venice, the boat’s last stop and prestigious winter home. This 9,000 kilometer trip, spread out over 5 months of navigation, featured stops in Atalayoun (Morocco), Monaco, and then Greece, where the ship transformed into a scientific platform as part of the “TerraSubmersa” archeological expedition, led by the University of Geneva (UNIGE). Once again, the largest solar-powered ship ever built showed she could be used for concrete goals, and thus reaffirmed her position as a multi-functional tool and formidable communication platform. Now at her peak, the ship searches for a new owner.

PlanetSolar’s 2014 campaign ends today, on a high note. Through the course of these past 5 months, the largest solar-powered ship in the world has reaffirmed her position as a multi-functional tool, and has definitively confirmed her incredibly important use as a scientific platform, launched in 2013.

During 8 stops spread out along a 9,000 kilometer route, the solar-powered boat met with the public and carried out her mission of promoting solar energy. The high point of this 2014 campaign was the “TerraSubmersa” scientific expedition, which took place in Greece during the month of August. Carried out by the University of Geneva (UNIGE), this mission aimed to explore the prehistoric landscapes that have been swallowed up by the waters of the Kiladha Bay, in order to reconstruct them and identify potential traces of human activity. For more information, about TerraSubmersa, click here.

Thanks to a partnership with Vento di Venezia (VdV), the organization responsible for promoting the Island of Certosa (Venice), PlanetSolar will spend the winter in the Serene Republic. During this period, which will last until May 2015, VdV and PlanetSolar will jointly organize public visits and private events. To celebrate the end of her campaign, a series of activities will be organized around the boat from September 4 to September 9.

PlanetSolar seeks a new owner

The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar adventures have been due to the Stroeher family (boat owner), a German family that is passionate about solar technologies, and has been operating behind the scenes since the start of the project.

“The goal was on the one hand to conceptualize an idea that could prove the effectiveness of solar technology, and would help promote and develop that sector. On the other hand, we also wanted to demonstrate that beyond her technical prowess, the ship could be used for concrete, useful goals,” explains Immo Stroeher, the family’s patriarch. The businessman’s financial investment, as well as his significant personal engagement, has allowed PlanetSolar to go much further than a single trip around the world, in creating a durable enterprise that now allows the ship to be used for concrete goals.

“The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, winner of 6 Guinness World RecordsTM, not only completed the first solar-powered voyage around the world, but has also successfully carried out two unique scientific missions in 2013 and 2014, both of which were punctuated with prestigious stops during which countless visitors were able to visit the interior workings of the ship! Today, we are very proud to note that after the success of her voyage around the world, PlanetSolar has undergone a perfect transformation, carrying out not only scientific missions, but also serving as a powerful tool of communication thanks to the enthusiasm she generates at each stop. Our expectations have been exceeded, and it is time for us to retire, and pass this unique ship on to a new owner.” Immo Stroeher concluded.

A Mini MS Tûranor PlanetSolar at Mini-Europe

01.09.2014

Thanks to the new partnership between PlanetSolar and Mini-Europe, since July 2, 2014, visitors to the Belgian theme park have the opportunity to admire a wonderful model MS Tûranor PlanetSolar which sits in the middle of one of the park’s pools.

To see the model for yourselves, all you have to do is travel to Belgium, or more precisely, to Bruparck, at the foot of the Brussels Atomium, where the Mini-Europe park is located.

Since 1989, Mini-Europe has welcomed more than 350,000 visitors a year, and is one of Brussels’s leading tourist attractions. Throughout the park, you can travel all across Europe thanks to hyper-realistic models of the continent’s most famous monuments and cities. All without fearing the exorbitant costs of a plane ticket.

PlanetSolar’s presence in such a famous location brings her to an audience who would not otherwise have crossed paths with MS Tûranor PlanetSolar during the numerous stops on her tour. Furthermore, the meticulously created model perfectly conveys the dimensions of the largest solar-powered ship in the world, thus giving a great overview of what such a catamaran can offer. We are proud that our ship has a place in this park, surrounded by all the most mythical monuments of Europe, and would like to thank Mini-Europe from the bottom of our hearts for this opportunity!

For more information about Mini-Europe, visit: http://www.minieurope.com

PlanetSolar concludes her TerraSubmersa expedition and sets sail for Venice (Italy)!

26.08.2014

Since July 28, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar has travelled through Greece as part of the UNIGE-led TerraSubmersa expedition. This mission was divided into two distinct phases. The first was to introduce the archeologists’ work among the public and local authorities through a series of events organized along the three stops (Eretria, Athens, Napflio), while the second phase was exclusively dedicated to archeological research in the Gulf of Napflio.

“The catamaran’s spacious liveable surface and her complete energy independence, as well as her low draught and great maneuverability made it an optimal work platform for the researchers. Once again, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar has shown that she is an ideal base for scientific research, and reaffirms her many versatile uses!” declared the ship’s captain, Gérard d’Aboville.

PlanetSolar is extremely satisfied with this mission. At each stop, the ship was met with enthusiasm by the public, and drew the attention of Greek authorities. Thus, more than 2,000 people stepped through the catamaran’s walkway. Moreover, PlanetSolar had the opportunity to welcome local political figures aboard, including Konstantinos Tassoulas, the Greek minister of culture, Giannis Maniats, the Greek minister of the environment, energy, and climate change, as well as the wife of the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. On the Swiss side, PlanetSolar also notably welcomed Walter Steinmann, director of the Federal Energy Office (OFEN).

Currently, the ship and her crew are sailing towards Venice. They are expected to drop anchor in the City of Doges on September 4.

Preliminary Results of the TerraSubmersa Expedition

This Greco-Swiss expedition, led by UNIGE archeologists in collaboration with the Laténium of Neuchâtel, the Greek Service for Underwater Antiquities, the Swiss School of Archeology in Greece, and the Hellenic Center for Maritime Research, aimed to explore the prehistoric landscapes that have been submerged by the waters of the Gulf of Napflio, in order to remodel them and to identify any potential traces of human activity.

At the end of the Ice Age, about 20,000 years ago, the sea level was considerably lower than it is today. By remodeling the landscapes that have disappeared underwater, archeologists hope to understand the dynamics through which coastal zones were populated. In the TerraSubmersa expedition, research focused on the Franchti cave, located on the northern bank of the Bay of Kiladha, which was inhabited for close to 35,000 years, from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic ages. “We collected fantastic data, whose analysis will take two years of work,” enthused Julien Beck, the expedition’s lead scientist. “The preliminary results are encouraging!” In fact, by mapping the seabeds, the researchers found paleobeaches dating back to different periods in prehistory. All signs lead to believe that these beaches were shaped by the inhabitants of the Franchti cave, in which scientists recovered shells and the remains of fish. Furthermore, faults indicating tectonic shifts in the gulf of Nafplio have been detected with the echo-sonar installed aboard the solar-powered ship. These faults could explain the difference in depth of the paleobeaches.

 

PlanetSolar partners with the Department of Ambulatory Care and Community Medicine

18.08.2014

As part of its 2014 campaign, PlanetSolar is partnering with the Department of Ambulatory Care and Community Medecine (PMU). PMU will offer its medical services to members of the crew of the largest solar-powered boat in the world. Situated close to the Vaudois University Hospital Center (CHUV - Centre hospitalier universitaire vaudois), PMU is a reference center for general internal medicine.

PMU will play a key role in ensuring the health and well-being of the crew, who will be working in an environment with limited resources for care. Therefore, PMU will make the skills of its specialists in general medicine, as well as specialists in travel and tropical medicine, and ambulatory infectology, available to the crew.

The institute’s doctors will provide the PlanetSolar team with advice over the phone or via Skype. They will also assign staff to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the entire duration of the TerraSubmersa expediton, in case of emergency.

“PMU is thrilled to participate in this innovative project by offering a service that corresponds to its mission of medical care,” said Dr. Philippe Staeger, manager of PMU’s Center for General Medicine.

Our team’s health is of primary importance to us, and the success of expeditions in 2014 depends on it. We thank PMU for its support in this mission.

Lead and oil are the matters at hand

15.08.2014

Our mission started under a leaden sky and an on an oily sea, perfect conditions for TPS, which gorges herself on kilowatts and glides effortlessly into the Bay of Kiladah.

Our measurement tools float in our wake. A little platform which we pull along emits a sort of hammering sound, like the beating of a perfectly regular heart, a wave that strikes the bottom of the sea and whose reverb is traced across the screens which four Greek scientists back in the marina scrutinize. Up above, in the wheelhouse, Brieux navigates right up against a cliff… All day, we follow pre-determined routes, at the perfectly controlled speed and precise curves of experienced sailors.

We’ve entered into the heart of the matter, and even if it is often best to keep a soldier’s stiff upper lip, this is not the time to trust in the apparent calm; we can feel a sense of contained excitement, as we continue on this very particular treasure hunt, and each member hopes that the Terra Submersa mission will succeed in digging up some of the bay’s deep secrets.

GdA

Hard at Work

13.08.2014

Our passage through the Corinth Canal, with a nearly 6 kilometer-long trench separating the continental Greece from the Peloponnese islands, resulted in some spectacular photos which made a splash in Greek media. TPS is now widely known, and our arrival in Eretria on July 31 brought a crowd. The jam-packed agenda for this stop, which marked the beginning of the Terra Submersa expedition, starts with festivities in the village square, in honor of Konstantinos Kanaris, a hero of Greek independence. The next day, on the occasion of Swiss National Day, Mr. Amberg, Swiss Ambassador in Greece, came aboard the solar-powered boat to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Swiss School of Archeology’s excavations, led by Karl Reber. There were visits to the boat, talks, and crushing heat...

The night of August 2, spent moored in a small, wild creek under the temple of Poseidon, was a welcome occasion to recharge before continuing on to Athens, our next stop, where the press conference announcing the launch of TerraSubmersa kept us just as busy. Lunch and evening festivities onboard, visits from the ministers of Culture and environment, groups, cocktails, speeches, the crew dressed to the nines and ready to welcome, explain, give tours, shine up… Of Athens, I only saw the Zea marina.

Luckily, the sailor’s life goes on, with a delightful little cruise towards the bay of Argolis. A short stop at Spetses, a tourist town renowned for its handcrafted wooded boats, although unfortunately we didn’t have time to visit the workshops, then onwards through the sinuous straits in front of the wonderful town of Poros. TPS, with its impressive size, slunk through moored ships, barges, ferries, and boats full of curious faces.

On August 7, we docked in the port of Nafplio. The largest town in Argolis, it was once the capital of ancient Greece, and is still a wonderful sight, with narrow paved streets, 18th and 19th century homes with blinds and balconies, gardens overflowing with bougainvilleas, illuminated fortresses, and a little fort on the island that marks the entry to the port. A place I will revisit (but maybe not during tourist season!) since we didn’t have time to truly enjoy it, as August 8 was probably the day TPS welcomed the most visitors onboard since its launch, with groups of 45 touring the boat every half hour!

August 9 was dedicated to installing aboard the measurement instruments we will be working with over the next two weeks.

Since the 10th august, we have been all set and anchored in the Bay of Kiladha. Here we will spend two weeks conducting a very thorough mapping of the coastal shelf, on the lookout for traces of habitats and prehistoric remains; more on that later too...

The full moon, the largest this year, has just set, and the sun rises over a sea that is as smooth as a mirror; life could be worse. Are you jealous? You should be.

GdA 

A first day of measuring

13.08.2014

When I started thinking about geophysical measures in the Bay of Kiladha, more than two years ago, PlanetSolar was not yet in my mind. First I met Dimitris Sakellariou, a Greek geologist specialized in marine research, at a workshop on Submerged Prehistoric Landscapes in Rome in the fall of 2012, and the project gradually evolved from that. It was then Jean-Dominique Vassalli, rector of the University of Geneva, who came up with the idea of involving the world’s biggest solar-powered boat. And here we are now. The deep blue sea of the Argolic Gulf is all around us. The instruments have been installed on board. The echo-sounder’s characteristic “ping” can be heard on the rear deck. TerraSubmersa’s scientific part is beginning...

Julien Beck