If all goes according to plan, PlanetSolar, the world’s largest and fastest 100 percent solar-powered boat, will begin sailing this summer. Conceived by Swiss engineer Raphaël Domjan, the 98.5-foot futuristic catamaran is also planning to become the fastest solar-powered vessel to circumnavigate the globe. The voyage will travel from east to west and follow an equatorial route. Along the way, port calls and press events will be accompanied by a touring exhibition called PlanetSolar Village as part of the project’s educational outreach.
Equipped with available technology, PlanetSolar‘s goal is to demonstrate that today’s renewable energy sources and technologies are practical, efficient, reliable and offer high performance. The propeller-driven vessel, built in Kiel, Germany, will receive its power from 5,059 square feet of deck-mounted photovoltaic solar panels designed to deliver 103.4 kW of power. The boat’s designers estimate that the catamaran will average about 8 knots with a maximum speed of 14 knots in optimum conditions.
PlanetSolar will be operated by a crew of two, Domjan and co-skipper/navigator Gérard d’Aboville, during its round-the-world challenge, but can accommodate as many as 200 guests during port calls and publicity events.
Funding for the project comes primarily from its two main partners, Swiss watchmaker Candino and Rivendell Holding AG, a Swiss investment firm based in Zug. Other partners include equipment suppliers, technology firms and public and private institutions.