This Huge Ship Just Sailed Around The World Powered By Nothing But Sunshine

Sailing 600,000 kilometres is an impressive feat even aboard modern luxury yachts. It's downright astounding to do it without using a single drop of oil.

At 31m long and 15m wide, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is the largest solar-powered ship to sail the seven seas. It just became the first watercraft to circle the planet using nothing but the sun's energy.

Built by German boat-building firm, Knierim Yachtbau, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar cost €12.5 million ($16 million). Its deck is covered in 537sqm of solar panels -- 38,000 individual photovoltaic cells -- producing up to 120kW of electricity. That's fed to six massive lithium-ion battery blocks, which, in turn, power four electric engines. These engines drive a pair of 1.8m wide, semi-submerged, counter-rotating carbon propellers -- eliminating the need for a rudder and propelling the MS Tûranor at a respectable 14 knots. Granted, it can't keep up with massive cargo ships like the Emma Maersk, but it also doesn't burn 385mL of diesel fuel per revolution.

Since each engine only produces an average of 26hp and the solar cells have a paltry 22.6 per cent conversion rate, the MS Tûranor is designed for efficiency. Its 86-tonne hull is built from a foam core sandwiched between layers of carbon fibre and resin. This makes for a lightweight but extremely durable hull, while extensive hydrodynamic and aerodynamic testing have ensured minimal drag.

A crew of six piloted the Tûranor during its 585-day trans-oceanic voyage. It launched from Monaco on September 27, 2010, and sailed west for 19 months. This past Friday, May 4, the boat came home. With a world record now under its belt, the Tûranor will be converted into a 40-passenger luxury yacht. Because, you know, Monaco.

[gizmag - planet solar - wikipedia - cleantechnica]

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    They'll start making wind powered boats soon!

      Gee Dave that's a great idea, a wind powered boat! let's put a big cloth on a stick, we'll call it a sail and mast. you are a genius, I'm surprised no-one though of that before.

        ^^ This...

        I can't work out whether you actually got Dave's joke or not.

        Methinks not.

          Unless he's reffering to something like

          That's the sound of the joke flying over his head.

      I have been wondering, actually, why cruise liners and other vessels don't have sails - even if you can't use them all the time, surely they would provide a huge efficiency boost to deisel engines. Even having vertical-rotor wind turbines on the deck would mean your engines don't have to produce as much electricity.

        cruise liners wouldn't have em for aesthetic reasons (looks) and that deck space is used for pools, bars, volley courts etc. The major cargo liners would need huge sails and masts to make any viable difference, and this would add to the cost of design and construction so drastically that it ends up being non-viable.

        Think for a second how small and light sailboats have to be to have any speed... can you imagine the drag/friction caused by a huge tankers hull? hope this helps!

          you mean something like this?

    A boat powered by unicorn farts.... now that id pay to see!

    $16,000,000 boat.
    $1.60 promotional film.

      Thats what I was thinking!

    So is this article actually trying to say that this ship sailed 600,000 km ? I call BS if thats their claim, still a good use of solar power if you've got loads of cash to piss away

      Around the world fifteen times in under two years? Now there's a compelling argument for switching to solar power.

    It didn't use a single drop of oil? Sod the solar power, that's old hat; I'm interested in their oil-less lubrication system.

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