Solar all at Sea & on land: Setting Records for Distance & Speed
On its round-the-globe voyage, the world’s
largest solar power vessel, the Turanor PlanetSolar arrives in Phuket,
Thailand, pioneering the use of sustainable energy technology on water.
Meanwhile, the Tokai University Solar Car Team which used HIT solar cells that
boast the world’s highest level of energy conversion rate and supported with
high-capacity lithium-ion batteries provided by Panasonic, won the 2011 Veolia World
Solar Challenge – from Darwin in the north of Australia and travels down to
Adelaide in the south, a total distance of 3,021 km – ahead of the Dutch Nuon
Veolia World Solar Challenge, pioneered by
the South Australian Tourism Commission (22 October, 2011):
Tokai Solar Car Takes 2011 World Solar Challenge
Osaka PanOrient News (20 October 2011):
Tokai University Solar Car Team which used
HIT solar cells that boast the world’s highest level of energy conversion rate
and supported with high-capacity lithium-ion batteries provided by Panasonic,
won the 2011 World Solar Challenge ahead of the Dutch Nuon Team. WSC is one of
the world’s largest solar car races held in Australia since 1987.
The WSC solar car race competition starts
from Darwin in the north of Australia and travels down to Adelaide in the
south, a total distance of 3,021 km. This year’s race started on October 16.
From the start, the team from Japan took the lead and continually increased its
leading position throughout the entire race. The solar car ran smoothly without
any trouble to finally reach the finish line 32 hours and 45 minutes later in
Adelaide today, October 20, 2011 at around 1PM local Darwin time.
Panasonic HIT solar cells are hybrids of
single crystalline silicon surrounded by ultra-thin amorphous silicon layers.
The cells are ideal for obtaining maximum power within a limited space, greatly
lifting the performance of the solar car in the WSC where regulations limit the
total area of solar cells that can be installed on the body of the car.
Panasonic also provided cylindrical 18650-type
high-capacity lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. These high-capacity,
long-enduring, and lightweight batteries utilize Panasonic’s proprietary
nickel-based positive electrodes and have the highest level of energy density
in the industry. Linked in lightweight battery pack arrays, they can operate
for long periods of time.
The Tokai team was sponsored by Panasonic
Corporation, based in Osaka, Japan. The company is a worldwide leader in the
development and manufacture of electronic products for a wide range of
consumer, business, and industrial needs. The company recorded consolidated net
sales of 8.69 trillion yen (US$105 billion) for the year ending March 31, 2011.
The company’s shares are listed on the Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and New York
(NYSE:PC) stock exchanges.
PHUKET: The Turanor, the first solar-powered
boat to attempt a circumnavigation of the globe, is scheduled to moor at
Phuket’s Ao Po Marina, on Phuket’s east coast n Sunday 22 October.
The stunning piece of technology and
craftmanship, will remain in Phuket until Wednesday and will be visited by a
delegation from the Swiss embassy in Thailand on Tuesday.
The voyage began 389 days ago – on September
27, 2010 – from Monaco and has been mapped with stopovers along the equator,
where the boat can exploit the maximum amount of sunlight as it rounds the
The four-man crew crossed the Atlantic Ocean,
navigated the Panama Canal, then sailed the Pacific Ocean and are now heading
for the Indian Ocean and the Suez Canal, en route to the Mediterranean to
complete 57,000km of ocean traveling.
Dubbed in full the MS Turanor PlanetSolar,
the multihull is topped by a large array of photovoltaic solar panels that at
full exposure cover an area of 537 square meters.
At 31 meters long, 15m wide, reaching a
height of 6.1m. and weighing in at 95 tonnes, it is the biggest solar boat ever
built, taking 14 months to complete at the Knierim Yacht Club, in Kiel,
The PlanetSolar project began in 2004 with
the idea of promoting and investigating sustainable energy sources through
Raphael Domjan, from Switzerland, is the
initiator and expedition leader of PlanetSolar.
“The circumnavigation of the boat is to
demonstrate the functionality and efficiency of today’s technology. I think
that the project is excellent to get into the heart of cities, to get close to
people, to convince politicians and industrialists and let them experience
solar energy,” he explained.
“On its round-the-globe expedition, the
Turanor PlanetSolar will pioneer the use of sustainable energy technology on
water. It is different from anything that has happened in the field of mobility
“This solar catamaran uses the very latest
cutting-edge technology available on the market. Our intention is to
demonstrate that high-performance solar mobility can be realized today by
making innovative use of existing materials and technology,” Mr Domjan said.
Fans of JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings will
be interested to learn that the name Turanor is derived from the fiction piece
and translates as “the power of the sun” and “victory”.