Solar Odyssey: From Glacial Inspiration to PlanetSolar’s Historic Circumnavigation – BNN Breaking

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Over two decades ago, Swedish entrepreneur Raphaël Domjan embarked on a quest fueled by the disturbing sight of melting glaciers in Iceland. This experience sparked a resolve to showcase the viability of renewable energy. His vision: a solar-powered boat that would circumnavigate the globe. After years of financial hurdles, German investor Immo Ströher stepped in, setting the stage for the construction of the groundbreaking MS Tûranor PlanetSolar.


Birth of a Vision

The journey began in earnest in 2008 when Ströher’s funding greenlit the creation of the PlanetSolar. Designed by renowned New Zealand naval architect Craig Loomes and constructed by German shipyard Knierim Yachtbau, the vessel was a marvel of innovation. With over 500 square meters of solar panels and cutting-edge lithium-ion batteries, the boat was a testament to the possibilities of clean energy. On September 27, 2010, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar embarked from Monaco, aiming to demonstrate the potential of solar power on a global scale.

Breaking Records, Making History


The voyage was nothing short of historic. After navigating through the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, the solar vessel returned to Monaco one year, seven months, and seven days later, having relied solely on solar energy. This achievement not only shattered records but also underscored solar power’s potential in long-distance maritime travel. Following its monumental journey, the PlanetSolar underwent a change of ownership, transforming into the Race for Water, an initiative dedicated to combating plastic pollution in the oceans.

Legacy and Continuation

Despite a setback in August 2022, when a fire in the battery area necessitated an emergency evacuation around India, the vessel’s mission persisted. Renamed MS Porrima, it now sails under a new association, continuing the legacy of innovation and environmental stewardship. Domjan, undeterred by challenges, continues to champion solar energy, spearheading the SolarStratos project aimed at reaching the stratosphere in a solar-powered aircraft.

Domjan’s odyssey from witnessing glacier melt to pioneering solar-powered circumnavigation highlights the transformative power of renewable energy. The journey of the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, from breaking nautical records to surviving adversity and continuing its mission under a new guise, is a vivid testament to the enduring spirit of innovation. It underscores the role of renewable energy not just in exploration, but in sparking global conversations about sustainability and our environmental footprint. As Domjan ventures toward new horizons with SolarStratos, the legacy of PlanetSolar sails on, illuminating the path toward a more sustainable future.

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