For years, sea-going vessels have had two propulsion options: fossil fuels and wind. The first is expensive, dirty, and often supplied by dangerous countries that want us all to go to hell. Literally. The second is finicky, coming and going as it pleases — not a reliable option in today’s “now” economy.
Swiss engineer Raphael Domjan, however, has worked to show people that those aren’t the only two options. He decided to do what many didn’t believe he could: Go around the world in a vessel powered entirely by the sun.
Domjan posited the idea in 2004, but his voyage didn’t get underway until late in 2010. He set out on what would be a 584-day, 37,294-mile journey on a 115-foot MS Turanor PlanetSolar catamaran.
On Friday, the boat pulled into port in Monaco to complete its journey. Domjan proudly declared:
“We have shown that we have the technologies as well as the knowledge to become sustainable and safeguard our blue planet.”
The boat, designed by New Zealander Craig Loomers, is covered by 38,000 solar cells that send power to six sections of lithium-ion batteries.
The PlanetSolar company wrote on its website:
“Each new sunrise provides the catamaran with the light needed to continue its journey.”
Admittedly, Domjan could have made the voyage more quickly if he had not made stops to promote solar power — and if he didn’t have to deal with pirates at one point along the way. But charging takes daylight hours, and what’s the fun in making a journey around the world without some adventure?