Solar-powered boat sets off on new mission

The solar-powered boat Race for Water sailed away on its new journey over the weekend. Previously called Solar Power, the vessel will spend the next five years sailing around the world as it raises awareness about ocean conservation and the energy transition.

More than 8,000 people gathered on the docks of Lorient, France to watch the solar-powered boat Race for Water sail off on its five-year journey. Its first port of call will be Bermuda for the America’s Cup. The vessel will then make its way across the Atlantic Ocean, through the Panama Canal and up the California coast by March 2018.

After crossing the Pacific Ocean, Race for Water will participate in two other major international events: the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020 and the Universal Exhibition of Dubai in 2021.

The solar-powered boat is on a mission to promote ocean conservation and advance the energy transition while it travels around the world. It will also welcome scientists and students aboard for research, training and information sharing.

“With this Odyssey 2017-2021, we want to demonstrate that sustainable solutions for conserving the oceans from pollution exist thanks to innovative technologies,” Marco Simeoni, president of the Race for Water foundation, said in a statement.

The solar-powered boat is well familiar with the world’s oceans. From 2010 to 2012, it sailed around the world under the name Planet Solar to promote the use of clean energy.

The vessel has been used by the Race for Water foundation since 2015, and it underwent extensive redesigns in 2016 to adapt it for scientific expeditions. To prepare for its latest mission, for example, improvements were made to the solar propulsion system and solar modules were added as an extension to the deck surface. In addition, the boat can now store excess solar power in hydrogen by separating seawater into hydrogen and oxygen, and the burning the hydrogen when electricity is needed.


Image credit: Race for Water

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