Solar-powered boat reaches Paris

PlanetSolar in front of the Eiffel Tower

Round-the-world vessel docks on Seine quayside after scientific expedition following the Gulf Stream

THE FIRST solar-powered boat to travel round the world has arrived on the Seine in Paris at the end of a new scientific expedition that has seen it cover a 20,000km voyage along the length of the Gulf Stream.

Covered with 537m2 of solar panels, PlanetSolar is the world’s largest solar-powered boat and, driven only by the sun, it travelled from Florida and the Bahamas to the north Atlantic measuring changes in the Gulf Stream.

Captain Gérard d'Aboville, who lives in Brittany, said: “We know that if the Gulf Stream varies, even by just a little bit, that our climate will deteriorate enormously.”

He said PlanetSolar was originally conceived to prove that a solar-powered vessel was viable but the experiment along the 8,000km of the Gulf Stream has shown that it “is not simply a mobile ambassador for photovoltaic energy” and has a future in helping scientific expeditions.

Berthed at Quai André-Citroën, in the 15th arrondissement, until September 15, PlanetSolar will host a series of events on the quayside to give information on ocean pollution, new scientific campaigns, programmes to support renewable energy, and a campaign to clean up floating plastic waste.

It will also show off its “SolarSoundSystem” (musical entertainment powered by the sun), evenings devoted to philanthropic outreach, and onboard visits from schoolchildren.

Crew and researchers will also host a public exhibition dedicated to the “DeepWater” scientific expedition on Thursday, September 12 from 14.00-17.00 in the orangery greenhouse of Parc André-Citroën.

Last May PlanetSolar arrived in Monaco after a 60,000km voyage round the world that took 585 days, the first by a solar-powered boat.

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