On the back of LOMOcean Design's success with the record circumnavigation of the globe by the radical trimaran "Earthrace" comes a whole new challenge: the design of the first vehicle ever to circle the planet driven only by solar power.
And, not only must the boat be capable of this epic and ground breaking voyage, but it should also be outfitted and operated as a luxury yacht afterwards, to further demonstrate the viability of solar power in conventional applications.
The result is the innovative "Turanor PlanetSolar", a 31m wavepiercer catamaran with approximately 500 square metres of solar panels on its deck delivering electricity to on board battery banks and thence to electric motors in each demi-hull. These in turn drive innovative, highly efficient carbon fibre propellers capable of driving the boat at speeds of up to 12 knots.
The design of the boat has involved a comprehensive test program, involving towing tank tests at the Australian Maritime College in calm water and waves, returning the highest efficiency ever recorded at the facility for a catamaran at the water line length, displacement and speeds involved. The displacement during the circumnavigation will be 65,000 kg, gaining some weight for an afterlife as a luxury yacht to a displacement of 85,000 kg. She will be propelled by twin 2 metre diameter, 5 bladed composite propellers.
Wind tunnel testing was also undertaken to understand the resistance associated with wind at different angles, because high winds offer significant resistance in the context of a relatively large boat with very low installed horsepower.
Turanor PlanetSolar has just finished construction in carbon fibre epoxy sandwich materials at the Kiel, Germany yard of Knierim Yachtbau and was launched on the 31st March 2010.
Please click here to go to the Turanor PlanetSolar Homepage.