The world’s largest solar ship has become the first vehicle to travel around the world using only solar energy. The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar arrived in the Hercule harbour in Monaco on 4 May, 19 months after its departure.
The 60,006km journey followed a course close to the equator, passing through the Panama Canal and the Suez Canal, with stopovers in 28 countries for the crew to meet the local populations and promote the use of solar energy.
Since setting off on 27 September 2010, the Swiss-flagged ship has sailed for 585 days without a single drop of fuel.
Project initiator and expedition leader Raphaël Domjan declared immediately after disembarking: “We are extremely happy to have achieved this first world tour with solar energy! 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.”
Stroeher said: “The successful completion of the world tour is also a new start into a new era for the operating company PlanetSolar SA. We want to use our reputation, our contacts, our experience and our know-how in the management and implementation of solar projects to deliver concrete and practical solutions. As pioneers, we will support investors, individuals or companies in the realisation of their projects.
“As a first step, we are considering renting out the boat for scientific or commercial uses or even selling it,” Stroeher continued. “We are open for ideas and in talks with interested parties – from the use as a ‘green’ luxury yacht to scientific usages and the utilization as the world's largest mobile solar power battery, everything is possible.”
The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar was built in Kiel, Germany. It is a catamaran powered entirely by solar energy, and is covered with 537m2 of photovoltaic panels.