IT’S not so much clean and green as clean and white.
The world’s largest solar-powered boat, the Turanor PlanetSolar, is sailing into Brisbane, after crossing the Pacific from the Panama Canal.
She will go on show on Sunday at Brisbane’s Riverside Centre Pontoon and remain open for inspection until June 2.
The 95 tonne Turanor is making its only Australian stop on a world circumnavigation, aimed at showing that renewable energy technologies work.
She is the idea of Swiss businessman and electrical engineer Raphael Domjan, who is sailing the boat without the need for sails or a clattering, pollution-producing diesel engine chewing non-renewable fuel.
Pushing it along on its 50,000km world-first voyage is a solar photovoltaic surface area of 537sq m, with 38,000 solar cells.
Nearing Australia it struck big seas and overcast conditions, reducing the boat’s speed to just 37km a day, way down on its 200km-plus legs in fairer weather.
Her crew’s aim is to sail her at an average speed of 7.5 knots – just on 14km/h – which, they say, is about what a conventionally-powered oil tanker makes.
Solar panels are attached to outriggers that can be retracted in stormy weather. Energy is stored in batteries which can power the vessel’s electric motors without sunlight for three days at 7.5 knots.
Mr Domjan’s log details tough conditions for a solar-powered craft on Wednesday, with nose-on squalls to 74km/h.
“Distance covered during the last 24 hours: 20 sea miles (37km),” Mr Domjan said.
It was the first time the catamaran faced such tough conditions.
“We take every hit of the unchained ocean against our superstructure. The roar of the wind against our hull is deafening. One could have the impression of being in a cabin perched in the high mountains,” he said.
“…After more than 7500 miles in the Pacific Ocean which we covered in relative tranquillity, I believe that the greatest of all oceans has decided to show us how powerful it can be.”
The Turanor’s course, location and adventures can be followed on the net atwww.planetsolar.org.