Success for solar-powered catamaran7th May 2012
Solar power has a wealth of uses - some more important than others - but it seems that one of its latest applications has proved a particular success.
Lately we've heard of all sorts of weird and wonderful solar inventions, ranging from showers to portable electricity systems, although this time it's a solar powered catamaran we're interested in.
Swiss electrical engineer Raphael Domjan set sail in his vessel back in September 2010 after having the brainwave of creating a boat powered by solar panels six years previously.
And it appears that his optimism was not misplaced - Raphael completed his journey on May 4, when he returned to the port of Monaco after completing his challenge.
"We have shown that we have the technologies as well as the knowledge to become sustainable and safeguard our blue planet," he told reporters.
"Each new sunrise provides the catamaran with the light needed to continue its journey."
Excuse the pun, but the expedition wasn't exactly all plain sailing - the boat was stuck in Australia for a few days after a storm blocked out the light.
The PlanetSolar catamaran is the biggest ship of its kind in the world, boasting 537 sq m of photovoltaic solar panel power and the ability to endlessly navigate using a solar power system.
Throughout its epic journey, the catamaran travelled to 28 countries over the course of 584 days - all by using the power of the sun.
It is estimated that the vessel can generate between 500 and 600 kilowatts during particularly good weather, which should be enough to transport it 300 kilometres.
It just goes to show that solar power has many more uses than simply being able to generate electricity for our homes - who knows what the future may have in store!
Posted by Mike Peacock