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World’s largest solar powered boat sets new speed record

Tûranor PlanetSolar, the world’s largest solar powered boat, has set a new speed record on a trip between Spain and the French West Indies.

The catamaran runs on clean power from a 5554 square feet, 93.5 kW solar photovoltaic installation. The panels feed into lithium-ion batteries on board the vessel, which can hold up to 60 people.

The boat travelled from Las Palmas, Spain to St. Martin, French West Indies, covering 2867 miles in 22 days, 12 hours and 32 minutes between April 25 and May 18, 2013. That’s four days faster than the previous record, also set by Planet Solar in 2010-12, when the boat crossed the Atlantic.

Credit: PlanetSolar

Credit: PlanetSolar

“Once again, the boat provided a brilliant demonstration of solar energy’s potential by breaking its own speed record for a transatlantic crossing set in 2010, improving it by 4 days, 6 hours, and 38 minutes. It is difficult to compare the two crossings because they were conducted at very different times of the year,” said Gérard d’Aboville, the boat’s captain, according to CleanTechnica.

Credit: PlanetSolar

Credit: PlanetSolar

“But it is certain that in light of the lessons learned during the trip around the world, the major maintenance projects carried out last winter—particularly to the propulsion system—have greatly improved the ship’s performance,” he said.

Now the boat has set off on the PlanetSolar DeepWater expedition, a project led by Martin Beniston, a climatologist from the University of Geneva, to collect data along the Gulf Coast.


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