Planet Solar was launched on 31 March.
Planet Solar was launched on 31 March.

The Tûranor PlanetSolar is a 30 m long 5 m wide catamaran. The deck is covered with photovoltaic panels – 825 panels will be installed in total with a surface area of 536.65 m2. The  solar power will be stored in a lithium ion battery, which will power an electric motor.

In 2011, Tûranor PlanetSolar will aim to circumnavigate the world powered only by the sun, at speeds of up to 8 knots. ('Tûranor' is taken from the saga Lord of the Rings and means 'power of the sun.')  This would make it the first solar boat to travel around the world.

The 50 000 km journey will take about 160 days.

The project aims to promote the use of renewable technologies as the main energy source of the future.

The boat was constructed by Knierim Yacht Club, in Kiel, Germany, in 14 months.

The boat is an extremely lightweight carbon composite sandwich design. It required appoximately 20.6 tons of carbon fibre, 23 tons of epoxy resin and 11.5 tons of AIREX® C70 structural foam core material in various densities.

The centre hull shell consists of a sandwich of 4 mm carbon skins (double bias and unidirectional) and 50 mm C70.130 high density core material.

The sub-construction for the solar panels is a sandwich made from AIREX C70 as well.

One of the challenges for this sandwich construction was to take into account the weight of the solar panels, the battery and the motor, while designing the boat as light and as robust as possible.