Circumnavigation of the world one step closer for solar boat and plane

MS TÛRANOR PlanetSolar is berthed in the port of Barcelona. It has travelled from Kiel (Germany) to Barcelona (Spain): from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean on its first major test voyage before it heads round the world. Meanwhile, developers of the solar airplane, Solar Impulse, have announced an attempt to circumnavigate the world in 2013..

The solar catamaran will remain in Barcelona until almost the end of the month. It will remain in the Mediterranean port while the tests performed during the trip from Kiel are analysed: Subsequently, it will have to undergo further testing and the trip around the world will be planned.

No specific date has been set for the round-the-world attempt, although it is estimated that the first leg of the trip could begin at the end of the month, once all the results of testing have been analysed. These results will provide data on the behaviour of the catamaran during the trip and depending on weather and sea conditions. The voyage of MS TÛRANOR PlanetSolar is expected to take in the ports of Miami, Cancun, San Francisco, Sydney, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Monaco.

This project is expected to deepen the understanding of and promote the development of solar mobility.

Flying high on the sun’s rays

Meanwhile, Bertrand Piccard, creator of the Solar Impulse project, recently revealed at the Fifth World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion in Valencia (Spain) that his team would probably attempt to circumnavigate the world in their solar airplane in 2013.

The first solar-powered aircraft has already demonstrated its ability to fly during the day by transforming solar radiation into electricity, at the same time as accumulating energy to be able to continue flying at night. The first night flight took place last July (Solar-powered plane completes first night flight).

Bertrand Piccard explained that "the plane works, it is finished and is capable of flying day and night thanks to batteries powering four electric motors that are recharged by the sun. It is possible that in a couple of years we can cross the Atlantic Ocean, and in 2013 we are able to travel round the world".

Now, the developers of Solar Impulse are building a second aircraft with a larger and lighter cabin to go around the world. Piccard, however, acknowledges that "it is crazy to think that at present this technology can be applied to commercial aviation".

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