Around the World in 584 days with Solar power

If it had not been for Raphael Domjana, a Swiss electrical Engineer, and his remarkable journey I would have still rated Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days as the best adventure travel tale ever written. In search of his quest to become sustainable and “safeguard our blue planet” Rapaeal Domjana wanted to prove to the world that alternative sources of power can also be used to reduce our dependence on fuels. And so he has done by traveling around the world in 584 days on a ship called the Tûranor that sailed only on solar power. When he returned home he knew that he had achieved what he wanted and also made a name for himself by breaking four Guinness world records.

Raphael Domnaja’s experience on board the Tûranor provides enough plot fodder that one can successfully transform his tales in a Hollywood blockbuster. Whether that will happen or not we will have to wait and watch but for now read on to know more about Raphael mighty sojourn around the planet using only solar power.

The Turanor’s Solar Powered Journey around the World

It was and idea that Raphael Domnaja conceived in the spring of 2004. It was thought to be an insanely adventurous idea for he wished to travel the world on board a ship that was powered only by solar energy. It was basically an attempt to prove to the world that besides fossil fuels and winds, solar energy could also be utilised for journeys on the high seas.

It may not have been an instantly popular idea but Raphael Domnaja managed to get funding for his trip from a German entrepreneur Immo Stroeher with whom he cemented a business alliance in 2008. The next challenge was to build a ship and that was done by Craig Loomes, a New Zealander who used durable light weight carbon material to built this mighty ship and covered it with 38,000 solar cells. The many solar cells in turn fed power to the lithium-ion batteries of which six blocks were installed. “Each new sunrise provided the catamaran with the light needed to continue its journey,” stated the Planet Solar team.

Named the Tûranor which literally means ‘power of the sun’ set out from Monaco’s Hercule Harbor and completed this very Herculean task in just 584 days. In these many days, which is 19 months to be more precise, they successfully covered a massive distance of 37,286 miles.

While covering this momentous journey, the 115 long foot Swiss flagged catamaran covered six continents and spread the gospel of the sun thus making it “an ambassador of solar energy”, says Immo Stroeher. It was a journey not easy for they had to deal with everything from pirates to waiting for the sun when the ship’s batteries ran out of energy. However, the ship was never affected in any way.

The crew was welcomed back amidst much fanfare at the Monaco harbour. A laser show powered by the ship’s batteries was conducted and Prince Albert II was also on board. After emerging victorious from this grand voyage Raphael, the man of the moment, elatedly declared that, “we have shown that we have the technologies as well as the knowledge to become sustainable and safeguard our blue planet.” The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is much more than a ship,” said Immo Stroeher, the German entrepreneur whose investment made the trip possible. “It has become an ambassador of solar energy.”

What the future has in store for the Tûranor we still don’t know. But the team members of the Planet Solar intend to either lease out the vessel or rent it out for scientific or commercial purposes.

Via Wired/Latimes