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!

Via PlanetSolar.