Monday, June 24, 2013

World's largest solar-powered boat sails to study climate change

Name           : MS Tûranor PlanetSolar , Owner : PlanetSolar
Builder         : Knierim Yachtbau, Kiel, Germany
Cost             : €15 million
Launched     : 31 March 2010

Length           : 31 m (35 m with flaps)
Beam            : 15 m (23m with flaps)
Propulsion     : 2 Permanent Magnet Synchronous Electrical Motors - 60kW each (max) @ 1600 rpm
                      2 Permanent Magnet Synchronous Electrical Motors - 10kW each (max) @ 1000 rpm
Speed           : 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph)  - maximum
                       7.5 knots (13.9 km/h; 8.6 mph) - cruising

MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is the largest solar-powered boat in the world.

In a mission to study the Gulf Stream

NEW YORK: The world's largest fully solar-powered boat, Turanor PlanetSolar, docked in New York on June18, 2013 during a mission to study the effects of climate change on the Gulf Stream current.

Sponsored in part by the Swiss government, the 35-metre (115-foot) catamaran is crowned with solar panels that retract in port but open like a bird's wings to take best advantage of the sun's rays when at sea. Weighing in at 90 tonnes, it travels at an average five knots.

The ship set sail from La Ciotat in France just over two months ago. And since it has made stops including the southeastern US city of Miami on its information gathering mission on climate change and the Gulf current.

"I myself live in Brittany, west of France, and we are very worried. We all know that if the Gulf Stream changes, even a little bit, our climate will deteriorate quiet a lot."
- Gerard d'Aboville, the boat's French captain.

The Gulf Stream sends a huge mass of warmer water from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Atlantic, giving Atlantic Europe a relatively temperate climate for its l

It also keeps areas it crosses in the Americas, such the West Indies, from being excessively arid.

PlanetSolar will be cruising through August with stops planned in Boston, Newfoundland, Iceland and Norway.

"Our goal is to understand the complex interactions between physics, biology and climate ... to refine climate simulation," said Martin Beniston of the Institute of Environmental Sciences at the University of Geneva. - AFP

Image credit: Fievet/AFP via Designyourrust

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