Since June, 2013 the world’s largest solar catamaran has begun its great “Deepwater Expedition” along the Gulf Stream. On August 1, PlanetSolar reached the region of Newfoundland in the city of St. John’s (Canada), known for its difficult navigational conditions and frequent fog. The scientific expedition seams to progress and many interesting data should be collected. The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar remained until August 5, in St John’s and then set off into the vastness of the North Atlantic, heading for the United Kingdom (Over 3’500 kilometers).
SolarPower is efficient and the PlanetSolar vessel proved it once again by facing every natural obstacle it has met. On August 19, the vessel reached the longitude that marks the halfway of the crew’s journey, the captain of the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar writes “It was a strong symbolic moment, and good for morale. From here on out, we will count how many miles remain instead of how many we have already traveled. […] Our journey from Newfoundland has been filled with depressions that brought on unstable weather, and occasion strong winds with vast cloudy areas.” Further he explains “This trip, carried out in a zigzag, was tricky, and was a significant challenge in terms of solar navigation,”. In addition to the navigating accomplishment the ship and her crew realized, the stop to St Jonh’s also represents a major point in her history: it is the most northerly point the world’s largest solar boat has ever reached.
On the expedition’s side, the UNIGE scientists have been able to proceed to various measurements and research since the launch of the expedition on June, 2013. Between Boston and Halifax, the scientific team of the solar catamaran was able to analyze the aerosols and they noticed from the data collected that as the ship gradually moved closer to Canada, the number of aerosols significantly increased. After leaving Halifax for the Port of St John’s, it was the time to continue research and analysis on the phenomenon of eddies (large vortices that break away from the main part of the Gulf Stream). Eddies affect heat exchanges with the atmosphere and phytoplankton growth. This time, the UNIGE scientific team intercepted the vortices off the coast of Nova Scotia and gives some impressions about their work “Although the data collected thus far is still in a very preliminary phase of analysis, the aerosol measurements seem to suggest that the quantity of microparticles suspended in the air, emitted by the ocean, is higher than anticipated. The truth is, our knowledge about oceanic aerosols is very incomplete, and the measurements taken by the “Biobox” (developed by the Applied Physics Groups at the University of Geneva) could deliver completely unprecedented results and thereby shed new light on oceanic influence on climate,” says Professor Martin Beniston, climatologist and director of the Institute of Environmental Science at UNIGE.
PlanetSolar has realized many accomplishment this year again (and there are more to come), because not only it has show its capability to become a great tool for scientific expedition but it is also a great proof that solar energy can go anywhere even in the most difficult locations with low sunlight. You can follow the expedition on the related site http://www.planetsolar.org/deepwater/?lang=en.
See more detailed information on the plane and the team on: http://www.planetsolar.org
PlanetSolar official website: http://www.planetsolar.org
Press Release 01/08/2013 PlanetSolar drops anchor in St. John’s, the northernmost point the solar vessel has ever reached
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- PlanetSolar – Largest Solar Boat – Further North Than Ever Before (cleantechnica.com)
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- PlanetSolar, World’s Largest Solar Boat, Reaches Nova Scotia (cleantechnica.com)
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