After an epic voyage of scientific discovery along the Gulf stream, the world’s biggest solar boat has reached its final port and has docked in London.
This is the first time that the impressive MS Tûranor PlanetSolar has visited the UK, making its grand entrance by floating under an open Tower Bridge yesterday afternoon. The catamaran cruised along the Thames yesterday before docking at Canary Wharf where it will remain until tomorrow.
The MS Tûranor arrives in London on the latest leg of its world tour. It is also the world’s biggest solar powered boat.
The solar powered boat made its grand entrance by crossing under in London’s Tower Bridge yesterday.
The PlanetSolar arrived on its final port of call in a voyage of environmental discovery on the River Thames in London yesterday.
When the vessel traveled from Las Palmas, Canary Islands to Saint Martin in the Carribean, it impressively crossed the distance in only twenty-two days this year, which is record breaking. On a sunny day, its 809 solar panels can produce up to 480 kWh.
In details, MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is capable of crossing the Atlantic ocean in just 22 days and has 512 square meters of photovoltaic cells.
The research team studied the key parameters of climate regulation, focusing on phytoplankton and aerosols, which was led by Prof. Martin Beniston, climatologist and director of the Institute of Environmental Sciences at UNIGE.
Their goal was to improve the understanding of intricate interactions between the atmosphere and ocean, as well as the role these interactions play on climate change.
The vessel is home to nine crew members at a time, including scientists. She has a top speed of 14 knots and is a scientific research platform for the University of Geneva (UNIGE). The nine crew members are gathering data on the atmosphere and sea between the United States and Norway as part of an investigation about climate change, using the eco-friendly boat.
“The PlanetSolar DeepWater expedition has allowed intensive testing in real-world conditions of a number of ocean and atmospheric instruments, some of which are prototypes. There is now a wealth of physical, chemical, and biological data housed at the University of Geneva, and which is beginning to undergo exhaustive scientific scrutiny. Although the data has not been analysed yet, we have noticed some very interesting trends, especially with regards to the production of aerosols by sea sprays,” Professor Beniston said.
The boat travels at an average speed of five knots and utilizes an amazing 512 square meters of photovoltaic panels to power six blocks of lithium-ion batteries. Aside from this, it is durable, completely silent, and light. Depending on where the solar panels are closed (during very rough conditions or when it is docked) or opened, in most instances at sea, the ship is approximately 35 m long and 23 m wide.
Here’s a picture of the boat with its solar panels “closed,” allowing it to dock more easily. Travelling the Atlantic in twenty-two days, which usually takes around thirty-five, the speedy solar boat compares favorably with a 40-foot sailing ship.
With zero fuel requirements and zero carbon emissions, the boat can take the open seas for months at a time, so long as the sun keeps on rising. The university believes it clearly demonstrates the possibilities of solar power for sea travel, an efficient way to travel, and it presents massive implications for sustainable transport and tourism.
“The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar has positive benefits for scientific study and exploration, allowing for pollution-free research to be carried out in the vicinity of the boat,” added Professor Beniston.
The boat will then cross the English Channel, then dock in Paris once its stop in London is done.
This is the boat’s state-of-the-art control panel.
Using advanced atmospheric apparatuses, some of which are prototypes created by the university aboard the ship, the deep-water expedition, which was launched in Florida, sought to gather a continuous series of biological and physical measurements along the Gulf stream, both from the atmosphere and the water.
Enthusiasts have the chance to adore its streamlined design and innovative energy technologies until tomorrow, where it will remain docked at Canary Wharf, London.
One of the goals of the recent expedition, which stopped at New York, Boston, St.John’s, and Miami, before travelling to London, is to promote the use of solar technology. It was designed by Craig Loomes from New Zealand after months of research into making the optimum dimensions and design of the double-hulled vessel. The light scientific vessel has a carbon structure, and is its name is inspired by the literary mythology of J.R.R. Tolkien, which literally means “power of the sun.”
Engineers optimised the energy collection and storage as well as the boat’s aerodynamics, propulsion systems, and choice of building materials. The boat also plays an educational role as the scientists are keen to raise awareness about environmental issues.