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World's largest solar boat to arrive in Brisbane

The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, the world's largest solar boat, is circumnavigating the globe and will arrive in Australia this weekend.

Irene Mickaiel
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1 of 11 PlanetSolar

The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, the world's largest solar boat, is circumnavigating the globe and will arrive in Australia this weekend.

According to PlanetSolar, it is attempting to break the world record by travelling around the world (approx 27,000 nautical miles) to show that renewable energy technologies are effective and can be relied upon, as well as to demonstrate the potential of environmentally friendly modes of transport.

People can see the arrival of the PlanetSolar yacht at Brisbane's Riverside Centre Pontoon this Sunday, 29 May, at approximately 12pm.

The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar measures 31 metres long by 15 metres wide, weighs 95 tonnes and costs approx €12.5 million (AU$16.7 million).

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The ship gets its name, Tûranor, from the Lord of the Rings trilogy written by JRR Tolkien, and means: "The power of the sun".

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The German-built catamaran has 38,000 solar cells, provided by SunPower, which makes it the largest solar-powered boat in the world. The solar cells have a photovoltaic surface, which means that they capture more sunlight than traditional flat-surfaced solar panels.

The Tûranor can sail for three days without any sunlight.

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The boat started its voyage in Monaco and has travelled across the Atlantic through American waters and the Panama Canal, and now heads to Brisbane without using any fuel, relying purely on the solar energy.

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Once the boat has left Australian waters, it will travel across to Asia and through the Suez Canal before heading back home to Monaco.

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PlanetSolar's founder Raphaël Domjan makes his dream a reality to develop a ship that can travel around the world in an environmentally friendly way.

"During our round-the-world tour, we will have to manage with whatever energy nature gives us," explained Domjan. "We will have to constantly optimise our route and speed in line with the available sunshine and the medium-range weather forecast. No one has ever undertaken such a task."

Pictured above to the right is crew master Patrick Marchesseau.

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The boat consisted of a crew of six at the start of the voyage, but now has four people aboard to ensure its smooth sailing across the world.

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The Tûranor is expected to complete its voyage by spring 2012.

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The boat's bridge and some of the controls.

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A wider view of the bridge.

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The interior of the Tûranor.

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