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Solar-Powered Boat Takes a Journey Around the World

The world’s biggest solar-powered boat, PlanetSolar will be sailing around the world.  Weighing 60-ton and costing 18 million euro ($24.4 million), the catamaran will be fuelled by photovoltaic cells from SunPower Corporation.  It will be introduced for sea trails from Germany’s Knierim Yacht Club.

Solar boat skipper and chief executive Raphael Domjan will be touring around the world with Gerard d’Aboville beginning in April to promote solar power and the sea transport’s part in reducing global carbon emissions.

The solar boat will be visiting Abu Dhabi, Hamburg, London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, and Singapore in early 2011.

SunPower (Nasdaq: SPWRA) is the supplier of around 38, 000 black photovoltaic cells which will transform at least 22 percent of sunlight into electricity.  The 470-square-meter solar energy array will be producing 103.4 kilowatts to fuel the boat’s electric engine.

Even though PlanetSolar do not have the components of a traditional boat, it is a way towards clean sea transport.

Japanese shipping firms Nippon Yusen Kaisha and Nippon Oil Corporation also developed a boat that is partly fueled by solar power called the Auriga Leader in 2008.  The Auriga Leader has 328 solar panels which can produce 40 kW of energy, which is 10 percent of the energy used by the ship when it is docked.  The ship is capable of containing 6,400 automobiles and will be transferring vehicles that will be sold abroad by Japanese car company Toyota Motor Corporation.

Another solar powered boat is called the Solar Circumnavigator will be making a trip around the world possibly this year or in 2011.  Supported by a green non-profit organization in Netherlands called the Peoples Projects Foundation, the 20-meter solar power device boasts of having “no internal combustion engines, no sails, no wind generators and no fuels of any kind on board, not even for cooking.” Solar Circumnavigator will be touring using the Lizard Point/Ushant route.

Because boats ship 90 percent of the world’s merchandise, it also generated tons of carbon dioxide into the air.  In 2008, the fleet of 90, 000 ships all over the globe has produced 1.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide.  The United Nations Environment Programme said that this expected to rise by more than 70 percent in 2020, simultaneous with the rise of global trade.

SunPower continues to operate with co-founder Dr. Richard Swanson’s vision that solar energy generated from big installations in the desert might power the electrical grid. In 2008Article Search, SunPower signed an agreement with PG&E to build the world’s largest – 250 MW – photovoltaic (PV) power plant.

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Ashly Sun is a seasoned writer, having travelled around the world, largely putting all her experiences and the sights and sounds she has come across to paper.  She now writes extensively about topics related to green news, mostly on renewable energy, but also on a variety of related topics as well.  When not travelling around the world, she is based in Central Hong Kong, taking in the myriad colours, flavours, and scents of the melting pot that Hong Kong is known for.

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