Solar Catamaran Ends First Sun-Powered Round-World Voyage

Solar Catamaran Ends First Sun-Powered Round-the-World Voyage
World tour on a solar-powered boat to beat climate change' by Sonia Logre Planetsolar catamaran, the first boat around the world with solar energy, sails near Portoferraio harbour during its 580th day of sailing around the world, at Isola d'Elba on April 30, 2012. Photographer: Andreas Solaro/AFP/GettyImages

A PlanetSolar SA catamaran covered with 38,000 solar cells completed the first round-the world voyage fueled only by the sun, the expedition team said.

The MS Turanor PlanetSolar vessel pulled into Monte Carlo, Monaco, at 2:12 p.m. local time today after a 60,006-kilometer (37,294-mile) journey taking in 28 countries over 585 days, PlanetSolar said in an e-mail. The catamaran’s roof is covered with SunPower Corp. panels that extend like wings over its hulls, powering six blocks of lithium-ion batteries.

The voyage demonstrates there are fossil fuel-free alternatives other than sails to power ships across the sea as governments try to fight climate change by lowering carbon emissions. Shipping accounts for about 3 percent of all greenhouse gases, according to the WWF and Oxfam groups.

“We have shown that we have the technologies as well as the knowledge to become sustainable and safeguard our blue planet,” expedition leader Raphael Domjan, from Switzerland, said in the statement.

Monaco’s Prince Albert II is scheduled to board the vessel tomorrow during three days of celebrations including a solar light show powered by the boats’ batteries, according to the statement.

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