PARIS .- The largest solar boat in the world, which left Monaco in September 2010 to the United States, Colombia and Panama, keeps sailing, currently traversing the seas of Australia, around the globe in a bid to prove that technology already exists to innovate in the field of sea propulsion.
The “PlanetSolar” is expected to arrive in Monaco in April 2012 at the end of a 50,000 km journey, explains the “ecoadventurer” Raphael Domjan, who launched this project.
Covered with 540 m2 of high performance solar panels, the ship uses only the sun’s energy to move, the stove he uses is powered by gas, but everything else works thanks to the sun, water, electricity, telephone.
At a time when the experimental plane Solar Impulse, Bertrand Piccard fellow is the guest of honor at the Paris Air Show Le Bourget, the futuristic catamaran continues its conquest of the oceans of the world powered by the Sun.
“The ultimate goal is the same,” admits Raphael Domjan, passing through Paris after having to land two weeks ago for health reasons. The aim of the project is “to demonstrate that we have the technologies to do so. These are technologies that anyone can buy in a supermarket. We already have everything we need to change,” said the blonde 39 year old adventurer, convinced of the prospects for solar energy.
The 30m x 16m catamaran crossed the Atlantic to Miami (USA), then went to Cancun (Mexico), Cartagena (Colombia) before crossing the Panama Canal in January.
He has since then made stops in French Polynesia, in Noumea and then in Brisbane (Australia) and is currently sailing near Papua New Guinea.
The crew of six men during the crossing of the Atlantic, is now down to four, to prove “that you do not need a large crew to operate these technologies.”
“PlanetSolar” has navigated at a modest speed of 5 knots on average (10 km / h) in the first 30,000 miles it has sailed.
The interest is not to get rid completely of fuel, Domjan said smiling, “Magellan had already toured the world with renewable energy,” but sailing does not allow you to go in all directions and depends entirely on the strength of the winds.
The builder of this solar boat emphasizes that his ship can store energy and move at a normal speed for three days to a week at reduced speed in case of cloudy skies.