PlanetSolar reaches Paris after successful ocean study
The project began to symbolise the possibilities of solar power for yachts - the first ever circumnavigation of the world using only solar power - but since then the strange 31m yacht with the looks of an alien invader, Turanor PlanetSolar, has found more reasons to exist for the good of the planet - studying the ocean.
Now the boat with the vast solar covered deck has re-crossed the Atlantic and reached Paris. Starting from Miami in June, scientists sailed up the eastern seaboard of the United States, then across the Atlantic, taking water and air measurements that should allow them to better understand the complex interaction between the ocean and the atmosphere.
PlanetSolar has docked on the banks of the Seine River, its final port of call after a three-month voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to study how the Gulf Stream and climate change could influence each other.
On board was Martin Beniston, the expedition's chief climatologist and head of the University of Geneva's Institute for Environmental Sciences. He commented after the journey that they had focused on aerosols, fine particles emitted at the ocean's surface that can influence climate.
'Our first surprise when we started looking at the Relevant Products/Services is the quantity of the aerosols that are actually injected into the atmosphere by the ocean, which means we might have underestimated the climatic role of the oceans via aerosols,' Beniston told media outlets.
Another small step in the vast ambition to understand our oceans and the climate that accompanies them.
Between September 2010 and May 2012, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar completed the first trip around the world powered exclusively by solar energy. The largest solar boat ever built is now sailing with the objective of demonstrating her practical applications. A scientific expedition along the Gulf Stream, and even a platform for hosting education events, this mobile ambassador of photovoltaic energy faces many challenges ahead.