After 19 months on the water, the solar-powered ship MS Turanor PlanetSolar finished its journey around the globe in the Hercule Harbor in Monaco on May 4.
“We are extremely happy to have achieved this first world tour with solar energy,” the ship’s captain Swiss Raphael Domjan said from the dock. “We have shown that we have the technologies as well as the knowledge to become sustainable and safeguard our blue planet.”
When PlanetSolar embarked on its around-the-world tour Sept 27, 2010, its goal was not to set any speed records – no Around the World in 80 Days for this solar boat.
The aim was to travel using only the sun’s power and make multiple stops all over the world and share the idea and proof of solar technology’s feasibility with the people who live in those places, Domjan wrote in an email earlier during the journey.
“I strongly felt the wish to find something in order to demonstrate that solutions do exist, and that solar energy in general is functional,” Domjam wrote. “I was thinking of a world tour.”
The tour followed close to the equator and stopped in Tangier, Miami, Cancun, the Galapagos, French Polynesia, Brisbanem Hong Kong, Bombay, Abu Dhabi and many other ports.
PlanetSolar is not only the first boat, but the first solar-powered vehicle of any kind to circumnavigate the Earth without a drop of fossil fuel.
The boat and its crew will receive multiple recognitions from Guinness World Records this week, including certificates for the “longest journey by solar powered boat,” “first circumnavigation by solar powered boat,” “fastest crossing of the South China Sea by solar power” and “fastest crossing of the Atlantic by solar power.”
The weekend will be filled with celebrations for the solar boat’s homecoming, but PlanetSolar won’t be retiring any time soon, said major investor German Immo Stroeher.
“The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is much more than a ship,” Stroeher said at the ceremony to celebrate the ship’s return. “It has become an ambassador of solar energy. The arrival in Monaco is only the start. We now have to take advantage of the fame of PlanetSolar in order to promote the use of solar energy.”
He said the new PlanetSolar company is considering renting the solar boat out for educational purposes and will make sure it gets attention globally. The ship will remain docked in the Monegasque Harbor until May 7 and will then move up the coast to Marseille, where it will be featured during European Solar Days from May 9 to 12.