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Heidenheim, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, 2010/09/07 - PlanetSolar is the name of an ambitious project in which a 75-ton vessel is to be powered on the open sea exclusively by sun energy. FSE: VO2A
With current test trips in the North Sea and during a 140-day circumnavigation of the world, the initiators of the project want to prove that this can actually be done. At the end of the journey they want to deliver evidence that a solar catamaran is not only technically feasible, but that is can also be produced and operated economically. The vessel is driven by two variable-pitch propellers type Vector Prop from Voith Turbo Advanced Propeller Technologies GmbH & Co. KG.
The PlanetSolar measures 35 meters in length and 23 meters in width (with flaps). The upper side of the boat is fitted with 507 square meters of salt-water resistant photovoltaic panels. With adequate sun radiation, the energy output amounts 103.4 kW (138.7 HP). This ensures that the entire drive energy of the 75-ton catamaran is harnessed from solar power. Storage occurs in lithium-ion accumulators. This drive concept comes with a further eco-aspect: made from carbon fiber, the boat glides through the water without any noise.
The catamaran is powered by four electric motors, coupled in twos to both of the two drive systems. During maneuvering, it is therefore possible to achieve a short-term maximum output of 90 kW per system. During sailing, the system operates with an output of two times 10 kW, reaching an average speed of 8 knots. The ship design was provided by Craig Loomes (Lomocean Design). The Vector Prop is an unusual drive element and, as a surface-piercing propeller, has a very high efficiency.
The compact propeller has a variable pitch and can thus also be used for steering. The PlanetSolar therefore has a classic steering wheel. The control hub of the Vector Prop is water-lubricated, which underlines the ecological advantages of the boat even further. The extended Voith Turbo delivery scope includes the shafts, the bearings, components for water lubrication, the pitch adjusting devices, as well as the redundant control system. It is used for controlling the speed and the position of the propellers.
Voith Turbo (voithturbo.com), the specialist for hydrodynamic drive, coupling and braking systems for road, rail and industrial applications, as well as for ship propulsion systems, is a Group Division of Voith AG.
Voith (voith.com) is setting the standard in the paper, energy, mobility, and service markets. Established on January 1, 1867, Voith is now one of the largest family-owned businesses in Europe, with 39 000 employees, 5.1 billion euro in sales, and over 280 locations worldwide. Voith is an official partner of the initiative "Germany – Land of Ideas".