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The boat

Follow the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar in real time

Position of the boat

Date :
20.07.2015 21:43 GMT +2:00
Position :
47° 43' 47" N 3° 22' 27" W
Speed :
0 knot

The MS Tûranor* PlanetSolar is the largest solar boat in the world. This catamaran operates solely on solar energy captured by its 512m² of solar panels.

It took several months of research to finalise the vessel’s dimensions and ideal design whose primary purpose was to cross the blue planet from east to west. The engineers had to optimise the collection and storage of the energy, as well as the boat’s aerodynamics, its propulsion and choice of materials. The carbon structure of this power-driven futuristic vessel is lightweight and durable. The 512m2 of photovoltaic panels supply 6 blocks of lithium-ion batteries, to date the largest mobile civilian battery in the world. This technology provides maximum power and energy density for a new type of autonomous navigation. When the batteries are full, the boat can navigate for 72 hours in complete darkness!

The two years of solar navigation around the world were instructive for PlanetSolar and resulted in an initial assessment of the boat’s performance. This assessment pointed to the optimisations required to make the boat more efficient and easier to operate. Thus in autumn 2012, for a period of six months, the solar vessel was put into dry docks at the navy shipyard at Monaco Marine in La Ciotat (France) where it underwent extensive maintenance works. The most significant changes were replacing the surface propeller propulsion system with a fully immersed system and changing the steering system for one that made it easier to manoeuvre the vessel.

*means “power from the sun” according to the language used by J.R.R. Tolkien.

During the project’s launch, the boat’s first design was a catamaran capable of accommodating two skippers and a photovoltaic area of approximately 180m². The purpose of the project was to complete as quickly as possible the first world tour using exclusively solar energy.

It was under the impetus of Immo Stroeher, the principal investor and owner of the boat, that the project would take shape and the vessel the form that it has today. Indeed, this German entrepreneur wanted the boat, after she completed her world tour, to have a second life and be exploited for practical purposes. Achieving this vision required that the vessel undergo a more ambitious redesign to accommodate a growing number of people aboard and to be able to navigate all the oceans.

The New Zealander, Craig Loomes upgraded the boat’s design. This naval architect had already designed numerous innovative boats throughout the world. Loomes’ design of the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar was based on the “wave-piercing” concept so that the catamaran could cut through the waves, requiring less energy than traditional designs where the boat “rides” over the top of the waves.

The vessel was built in Kiel in the north of Germany. This impressive construction project lasted 14 months and required more than 64,000 hours of work! At a cost of about €12 million.

Click on the pictures below and discover the boat detailed plans!

Since her construction, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar and her team have been rewarded and received the following awards:

  •  Global +5 Inovative Price, presented by The Global Journal, October 2012
  •  Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM): First around the world with a solar boat
  •  Award of Flag 71, Raphaël Domjan, MI'11 PlanetSolar, Explorers Club Flag
  •  2011 Environmental Award, Special mention « environmental benefit »
  •  European Solar Prize 2013 in the "Media" Category
  •  2015 Green Pride Award, presented by the UniVerde Foundation

The Guinness World RecordsTM:

  • The fastest transatlantic crossing made completely under solar power (26 days in 2010)
  • The fastest transatlantic crossing made completely under solar power (22 days in 2013)
  • The largest solar powered boat
  • The fastest crossing of the South China Sea made completely under solar power First circumnavigation by a solar-powered boat
  • The longest journey by solar-powered boat

Click on the images below for discovering our awards!