Solar boat reaches Paris after crossing Atlantic (Update)

Sep 10, 2013 by Greg Keller
The Turanor PlanetSolar, the world's largest solar boat, travels on the Seine river in Sevres, outside Paris, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013. The PlanetSolar with its 537 square meters of photovoltaic panels powering 6 blocks of lithium-ion batteries, accomplished the first around the world trip powered only by solar energy in May 2012. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

The world's largest solar-powered boat has docked on the banks of the Seine River, its final port of call after a three-month voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to study how the Gulf Stream and climate change could influence each other.

The 102-foot-long (31-meter-long) Turanor PlanetSolar catamaran looks like one of Darth Vader's TIE Fighters turned on its side.

Starting from Miami in June, University of Geneva scientists sailed up the eastern seaboard of the Unites States, then across the Atlantic, taking water and air measurements that should allow them to better understand the complex interaction between the ocean and the atmosphere.

The scientists focused on aerosols, fine particles emitted at the ocean's surface that can influence climate, said Martin Beniston the expedition's chief climatologist and head of the University of Geneva's Institute for Environmental Sciences.

"Our first surprise when we started looking at the data is the quantity of the aerosols that are actually injected into the atmosphere by the ocean, which means we might have underestimated the climatic role of the oceans via aerosols," Beniston said.

The $20 million PlanetSolar's deck is covered with photovoltaic panels that charge a gigantic lithium ion battery. The vessel can last on battery power for up to four days if there's no sun.

The Turanor PlanetSolar, the world's largest solar boat, travels on the Seine river as the Eiffel Tower is seen in background, in Paris, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013. The PlanetSolar with its 537 square meters of photovoltaic panel powering 6 blocks of lithium-ion batteries, accomplished the first around the world trip powered only by solar energy in May 2012. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PlanetSolar garnered attention last year when it completed a nearly two-year circumnavigation of the globe, the first round-the-world voyage by a solar-powered boat.

Explore further: First of four Fukushima reactors cleared of nuclear fuel

4.5 /5 (4 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Skipper unveils world's biggest solar-powered boat

Feb 25, 2010

A skipper hoping to become the first to sail round the world using solar power said his catamaran could carve a wake for pollution-free shipping as he unveiled the record-breaking yacht Thursday.

World's biggest solar boat docks in Hong Kong

Aug 15, 2011

There is "huge potential" to use alternative energy in the shipping industry, the man behind the world's biggest solar boat said on Monday as it arrived in Hong Kong as part of a global voyage.

Science and adventure on first leg of ocean expedition

Jul 04, 2013

Scientists undertaking a UNSW-led expedition to study microbes in the Indian Ocean have weathered huge seas and had a close encounter with giant whales during the first leg of their voyage from South Africa ...

Recommended for you

The state of shale

Dec 19, 2014

University of Pittsburgh researchers have shared their findings from three studies related to shale gas in a recent special issue of the journal Energy Technology, edited by Götz Veser, the Nickolas A. DeCecco Professor of Che ...

Website shines light on renewable energy resources

Dec 18, 2014

A team from the University of Arizona and eight southwestern electric utility companies have built a pioneering web portal that provides insight into renewable energy sources and how they contribute to the ...

Better software cuts computer energy use

Dec 18, 2014

An EU research project is developing tools to help software engineers create energy-efficient code, which could reduce electricity consumption at data centres by up to 50% and improve battery life in smart ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.