Solar-Powered Vessel Travels 'Round the World

MS Turanor PlanetSolar lands safely in Monaco
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2012 2:03 PM CDT
Solar-Powered Vessel Travels 'Round the World
The sailors of the MS Turanor PlanetSolar, the world's largest solar boat ever built, stand on the deck in Monaco's harbor, Friday, May 4, 2012.   (AP Photo/Bruno Bebert)

A cool, spaceship-like catamaran dropped anchor in Monaco yesterday after completing the first-ever round-the-world trip by a solar-powered vessel, the LA Times reports. The MS Turanor PlanetSolar left Monaco in September of 2010 with the goal of showing "that we have the technologies as well as the knowledge to become sustainable and safeguard our blue planet," said Raphael Domjan, a Swiss engineer who dreamed up the project. Now, he might just rent it out as the world's biggest solar-powered battery.

Other uses are being discussed: "We are considering renting out the boat for scientific or commercial uses or even selling it," says Immo Stroeher, Domjan's partner on the project. "We are open for ideas and in talks with interested parties," who might use the vessel "as a 'green' luxury yacht." No plans are brewing to mass-produce the PlanetSolar—it cost $12.5 million—but the project jibes with current thinking in the shipping industry, which is looking for ways to cut back on high fuel costs, notes the New York Times. (More solar power stories.)

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