In 2010, PlanetSolar’s Tûranor solar-powered boat completed a 19-month voyage around the world. Now the eco-vessel is set to set sail again over the Atlantic Ocean in order to conduct experiments along the Gulf Stream in a project known as PlanetSolar DeepWater. The 115-foot Swiss catamaran, whose name means ‘power of the sun’ in Elvish, will take measurements on behalf of the University of Geneva.
In preparation for its next mission the Tûranor has undergone six months of maintenance, including the installation of an entirely new immersed propeller system. The ship will charter its transatlantic journey from Miami to Bergen, Norway, with stops in New York, Boston and Reykjavik, Iceland.
The Tûranor ‘s new equipment includes the Biobox, an aerosol analyzer developed by the University of Geneva team, which will be used to determine the impact of aerosols on climate change and air quality. The on-board team will also examine how phytoplankton can regulate climate, and how the flow of the ocean can change due to density and temperature (thermohaline circulation).
The Tûranor was picked for the mission because it is powered by renewable energy and its lack of emissions guarantees that atmospheric measurements will not be distorted by residues associated with fuel combustion. The ship is also the only solar boat large enough to accommodate a team of scientists.