PlanetSolar: World's largest solar-powered boat revealed
PlanetSolar: The world's largest solar boat at the unveiling on Feb. 25
Five years ago we reported on an ambitious project being undertaken by PlanetSolar to build a boat capable of traveling around the world using renewable energy. This dream is now being realized - in a very BIG way. Recently unveiled at the HDW shipyard in Kiel, the world's largest solar-powered boat is 31 metres long, 15 metres wide and 7.5 metres high with a radical multi-hull design that incorporates a massive photovoltaic solar panel array covering 500m2.
Built by Knierim Yachtbau, the PlanetSolar boat aims to navigate around the globe at an average speed of 8 knots. The planned voyage is expected to get underway in the Mediterranean in Spring 2011.
"This is a unique feeling to see in front of me today a boat that I so often dreamed of! I can't wait to hold the controls in my hand soon, D-day is coming," said skipper and initiator of the PlanetSolar project Raphaël Domjan.
The key aim of the project is to demonstrate what can be achieved with today's renewable energy technologies and inspire others on a path towards carbon-reduction.
"Each step in the PlanetSolar project is a step further in the technological development of renewable energy sources. Thanks to ambitious projects like this scientific research is making progress," said owner Immo Ströher.
The PlanetSolar team will be launch the boat in April ahead of her first trials in real conditions. A European tour will follow from May to October this year before the boat sets off across the world in 2011.
A fantastic achievement. Bon voyage!
About the Author
After a misspent youth at law school, Noel began to dabble in tech research, writing and things with wheels that go fast. This bus dropped him at the door of a freshly sprouted Gizmag.com in 2002. He has been Gizmag's Editor-in-Chief since 2007.
All articles by Noel McKeegan
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The propeller seems to be 70% obstructed by absolutely flat end of hull. Perhaps this is just the current display setting?
I\'d have thought that with a prop that looks like a modern submarine one (over-size multi-blade for lower-speed more-laminar flow)... they\'d have wanted to have the prop well away from the hull \"in clear water\". Given the hydro-dynamic design of everything else, I\'d have thought the drag would be far less if the hulls ended with a canoe stern (ie like their bow), with just a shaft protruding, and with the prop well away (ie longer shaft) to have prop in clear water flow, but without breaking the surface of the water.
And if I was going to do an around-the-world trip in a multi-hull, I\'d want multiple structural elements connecting the outriggers to the main hull. The forces with large waves can be huge... but even America\'s Cup multi-hulls for flat-water racing have fore and aft connecting structural members between hulls. There is too much torque (twisting moment) with just one structural element... or you need to make it too heavy/strong to take given loading, compared to smaller elements to make three hulls stick together in heaviest seas. And the extra elements do not need to increase drag. They could be blade-like linking hulls, while cutting through high waves.
Over-turning is a different issue for multi-hulls... made worse with limited power because you only have solar energy, and you will need that power most in the middle of a storm that could represent a few days of very dark skies.
Renewable energy? Hey has anyone thought that maybe you could use wind to power a boat...naw....probably the technology is too advanced for mankinds current knowledge.
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