The PlanetSolar Catamaran is a multi-hull made of carbon-fiber composites and covered with over 5,300 square feet of photovoltaic solar panels comprising 38,000 of SunPower's solar cells capable of an impressive 22 percent efficiency.
Despite its impressive dimensions (30 meters long by 16 meters wide) and the lack of any sailing rigs, the ship looks definitely majestic on water. Behind the beauty of his silhouette hides the cutting edge technology designed by the firm MW-Line SA, which is known for her Aquarels boats on Lake Geneva or the catamarans of Expo 02.
Sophisticated technology ensures that the futuristic-looking boat's batteries can charge even when some sunshine. The engineers of PlanetSolar take care of the drive, the performance of solar collectors and energy storage, the materials and the external environment. A power of 10 kW is sufficient to the ship at 10 knots (18.5 mph) to move forward. The size of the storage batteries below deck store enough energy for several days without direct sunlight.
Another innovative feature is the use of propellers that sit at the water line, half in the water and half out. This kind of prop, known as a "surface-piercing" propeller, can be much more efficient than traditional propellers, because it prevents the blades of the propeller from interfering with one another as they push through the water, and reduces drag during the time spent out of the water.
This type of vessel appears like the ideal solution for the future. Thanks to the high efficiency of PlanetSolar's cells, they're expecting to achieve a fast journey around the world without a stop in just 80 days, which the team believe will help promote environmental conciousness. "Today, the boat is the most used means of transport of goods," the team writes. "It represents single-handedly almost 1.4 billions of tons of carbon dioxide (in 2008), that is 6% of the total carbon dioxide emissions and twice more than the air transport."
The ship in numbers:
Length: 30 meters
Width: 16 meters
Weight: 10 tons
Surface of solar collectors: 180 m2
Performance of the solar installation: 30 kW
Average speed: 10 knots, or 18.5 km / h
Maximum speed: 15 knots or 27 km / h
Capacity: 12 People
Pilot cabin: 6,50 m above the water
Cost: $24 million
Case Postale 70
Post Konto: 17-450479-6