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Environment – Zero-emission circumnavigation sans sails taking shape

Thursday, April 1, 2010   (Image © PlanetSolar)
With yesterday’s launch and christening, a new phase has started for the Swiss-based PlanetSolar, mainly financed by the German solar energy pioneer Immo Ströher, the spiffy all-solar vessel that is set to motor around the world to highlight the possibilities of renewable energy. A 330-foot crane lifted her out of the hangar at the Knierim yard in Kiel, Germany and placed her into the waters of the frigid Baltic Sea. The coming months are dedicated to testing to get ready for that circumnavigation, which is due to start in 2011 and will lead the boat on a 27,000-mile trip, following the sun on an East-to-West equatorial route. It will start in the Med, cross the Atlantic, pass through the Panama Canal, cross the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean and return to the Med through the Suez Canal, hoping to elude the pirates off East Africa. Estimated trip time is 160 days, the average speed is calculated to be 7.5 knots. There will be multiple stopovers to educate the public about renewable energy systems. Read the press release (PDF)and follow the project.

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