If you fall into the niche category of eco-conscious boating enthusiast with a desire to circumnavigate the globe on a 100-feet-long catamaran, your long wait is finally over. PlanetSolar – the dream of skipper Roaphael Domjan since 2004 and under construction since 2008 – was unveiled yesterday in Germany.
The yacht, which can carry up to 50 passengers at a not-so-blazing 15 knots (about 17 miles per hour) is powered purely by clean solar power. About 5,300 square feet of photovoltaic paneling covers the above decks, with 38,000 Sun Power photovoltaic cells harvesting sunlight at about 22 percent efficiency. And while rough weather is always a concern on the high seas, PlanetSolar can challenge overcast skies without hesitation; batteries below deck can store enough energy to propel the craft for several days without direct sunlight.
PlanetSolar will undergo testing beginning in March, with an around-the-world tour planned for 2011. During the 25,000 mile trip the ship will dock in various ports of call, including New York, San Francisco, London, Paris, Singapore and Abu Dhabi.
The slowest, most boring ride ever. No deck space. Limited outdoor visability. I assume you rot below deck the entire time using your "clean" fuel to play video game or just sit back and get smashed until you get where you are going.
Considering the very ungreenness of two years contruction, how far do you have to go slow on this tub before you even begin to break eco-even?
i just thought of another way to power a boat without using fossil fuels!
i think i'll call them "sails."
Why do they always do this... put rectangular cells on everything solar?!? At this point in time we can cut cells to fit almost any shape. This boat looks like it just steped out of the 80's. I thought designers and engineers were trying to emulate that addage "form meets function". But every time they come out with one of these 'green machines' that run on solar they douche it up with square pannels. WTF we know... it's solar... weee good for you.
@1 good comments. Slow as hell, better bring the zanex for cabin fever.
This has to be the worst design ever, solar sells get uncomfortably hot in direct sunlight, you'll have to wait for a cloudy day so you can hose them down with fresh water.
It is a costly enviromental mistake, the materials and energy required to make the solar cells will never be recouped, and don't even get started on the batteries, which are likely to be lead-acid with a slight chance of Lithium.
It is fascinating ready back issues of Modern Mechanics and Pop Sci from 30-50 years ago and seeing all the wacky concepts that never made it. This is going to be 1 of those, my kids will look at it and laugh
I just hope to God that this ship doesn't end up in the hands of those Whale Activists like the last interesting concept did!!
deegeezee is a genious~~! lol i agree. Might as well add a sail or a smart para-glider-like feature.
All valid points, but to be fair, if this is the first boat to circumnavigate the globe under solar power, it's not going to be the perfect boat that becomes a widespread commercial model. They'll probably learn from their mistakes and the ecofriendly boats that eventually normal people like us will ride in will have a combination of solar panels and deegeezee's "sails." ;-)
Excellent application for PV cells.
WOW, I guess I don't know squat about solar engineering because I thought this was a great idea until reading the negative feedback. I would like to hear the suggested improvements to the concept from all the experts above.
This could be a great deck boat... just put all those solar cells on the canopy over the deck not on the deck :(
Just think regular old pontoon boat with solar cells on the canopy :)
of course it would have to be a bit more robust then your standard lake type catamaran but they missed the chance to build a great yacht...
New article just out as the boat starts the voyage. Better view from the side and you can see the open-air deck space.
My husband is a renewable energy engineer, and we're also working on a multi-source catamaran design. Yes, the current all-solar approach is clunky, but again - most prototypes and initial efforts ARE. Remember the first "mobile" phones?
I'm thrilled to see that there are companies funding ventures of this sort. We can have all the great ideas in the world, but without funding for R&D they go nowhere. Yay for Rivendell Holding AG! Woot!
Yeah Makael that picture in the article makes it look like an entirely different boat. I definitely agree that the design could be done different or at least the top could have been given a different look but all in all the design still has a little bit of decent style compared to the horrors others have created.