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PlanetSolar arrives the Philippines

by Nancy Knudsen on 30 Jul 2011
PlanetSolar has reached Manila in the Philippines .. .
There's no stopping her. Turanor PlanetSolar, an 85tonne catamaran making its way around the world powered completely by solar power, has arrived in Manila, just one of its many stops since it left Monaco last September, crossed the Atlantic two months later and has since crossed the Pacific, publicising the possibilities of solar power into the future.

Looking more like an inter-galactic craft straight out of a science fiction film than a watercraft, it is now docked at the Mall of Asia Terminal in suburban Pasay City. It's an appropriate stop for the large craft, as the solar panels were produced in the Philippines by the SunPower Corporation.

In a statement, former Philippines energy secretary and now World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines) chair, Vincent Perez said: 'The message of M/T Turanor Planet Solar is clear — clean and dependable renewable energy technology is here.

'The sun has always been our planet's most important source of power — wind, rainfall and waves are all indirectly generated by the sun. Harnessing even a tiny portion of its immense power can provide us with limitless amounts of clean energy,' he said.

As a tropical country, the Philippines is blessed with abundant sunlight all year round. While in the earlier days, people used natural sources of energy such as the wind, only in recent times have countries have been able to harness the sun's energy and store it in photovoltaic cells or solar panels.

Measuring 31.15 metres, the vessel is not only the most advanced craft of its kind, but is also the biggest. It maximises use of space for trapping solar energy and has 38,000 photovoltaic cells that provide 127 horsepower to its propellers and moves at a constant 14km/h.

The vessel has already received the distinction for posting the shortest time for crossing the Atlantic Ocean using solar energy and also for logging the longest distance for a solar-powered electric craft.

Currently, it aims to set the record for being the first solar-powered craft to circumnavigate the world.

The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar project was founded by Swiss national Raphael Domjan, and its name was taken from JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings mythos, and translates to 'the Power of the Sun'.

Well done, PlanetSolar, another stage in an historic voyage. To learn more about the voyage, go to their www.planetsolar.org!website.

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