World’s largest solar boat docks in Doha

December 22, 2011

MS Tûranor in Doha

The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, the world’s largest solar-powered vessel, was warmly welcomed in Doha where it has docked as part of a round-the-world voyage that started in Monaco in September last year. 

QSTec, a Qatar-based solar grade polysilicon company that supports innovative uses of solar technologies and applications, is hosting the boat at the Pearl pier for three weeks on its longest stopover in the region.

The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, built in Germany, is powered by 537 square metres of photovoltaic cells. ‘Wings” on the front and rear of the boat can be stretched or contracted to capture more or less sun, and the rear wing has censors that allow it to move towards the sunnier side of the boat. On the boat, which can take up to 40 people, showers, lights and fridges are all powered by solar energy.

“We are excited to see these breakthroughs – once a dream – become a reality,” said Khalid Klefeekh Al Hajri, Board Member and CEO of QSTec. “PlanetSolar’s MS Tûranor demonstrates what we hope will be an end-product for QSTec’s endeavours and its arrival here strengthens our resolve to develop products that will enable the creation of new and innovative uses for solar technologies to help protect the environment,” he said.

The idea to travel the world on a vessel using no fuel and emitting no carbon dioxide was dreamt up by Swiss engineer Raphael Domjan in 2004. The challenging project, which brought together physicists, engineers and sailors, was christened PlanetSolar and gave birth two years later to the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar.

“Qatar has all the ingredients to be a powerhouse of solar energy, but above all it has the same vision that brought about PlanetSolar,” Domjan said. “We wanted to acknowledge Qatar and its support of solar initiatives through organisations like QSTec by making this our longest stopover in the Arabian Gulf.”

The name Tûranor is derived from the Lord of the Rings Saga and translates into “The Power of the Sun”.

The first solar-powered world tour is expected back in Monaco in May 2012.

Features of MS Tûranor PlanetSolar

 Length: 35 m / Width: 23 m

Height: 6.10 m / Weight: 95 t

Solar Panels: 38,000 with 22.6 per cent yield

Maximum engine power: 120 kW

Average Engine: 20 kW (26.8 HP)

Crew: min 4 people



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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