This is the first transatlantic crossing powered by solar energy
On October 16, 2006 "Sun21", the 46ft. solar-powered catamaran was officially launched. The first solar-powered transatlantic crossing began at 7:00 pm. in an attempt to spread the word about the wonders of renewable energy.
The American Time Magazine nominates the solar boat "sun21" of the Association of transatlantic21 as a candidate for the "Best Invention of the Year 2006" in the category of transportation.
Together with seven other means of transport, the "sun21" was proposed for the award. The solar catamaran is the only watercraft that has been nominated by the Time Magazine. In its laudation, which appeared on the website of the publication, the magazine praises the record attempt of the five-member Swiss crew to prove that solar power can transport us for 7000 miles and "to spread the word about the wonders of renewable energy".
The vessel departed from Basel, Switzerland and will travel to Miami, Florida, the trips final destination is New York City. The 7,000 mile journey is expected to finish by the spring of 2007.
The vessel sleeps 5 to 6 persons and has room for large groups for visits or short excursions. The catamaran is pretty standard for the types of vessels that are available today except for a large deck covered with photovoltaic cells. "Sun21" uses two electric engines that run on batteries that have been power by solar cells. During the day the catamaran uses less energy than it burns. The excess energy is stored into batteries. The stored power is then used during non-daylight hours.
The catamaran is able to travel at a constant speed of 5-6 knots 24 hours a day, which is the same average speed of a sailing catamaran. The point of this excursion is to show the world that photovoltaic cells have evolved tremendously since there inception. Photovoltaic cells technology is far beyond short trip alone. We can now travel long distances safely with the aid of solar panels.
Upon the successful completion of this voyage it will be registered as a new world record in the Guinness Book of Records. It will be the first time that a motorized vessel crosses the Atlantic without a drop of gasoline. The goal of this endeavor is to spark confidence and trust in solar energy. This should strengthen the move towards cleaner sources of fuel for the future.