Futuristic catamaran Turanor PlanetSolar, the world’s largest solar powered vessel, made a quick pit stop in the port on Monday when she arrived from Saint John, Newfoundland, to collect spares at Mylor Dockyard before heading off up the Channel.

Turanor PlanetSolar is a catamaran that runs solely on energy found in light. The additional removable parts allow it to expose a total of 516 m2 of photovoltaic surface (solar panels) to the sun. This in turn powers six blocks of lithium batteries. The vessel can carry 60 people including her crew of four. Her name is derived from J R Tolkien’s mythology in which Turanor means power of the sun.

This clean and quiet vessel has been launched in March 2010 in Kiel, Germany, in the shipyards of Knierim Yachtbau after 14 months of construction. Its designer Craig Loomes, from New Zealand, has already imagined numerous innovative ships around the world Between September 2010 and May 2012, Turanor 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.

The 30-metre vessel left Miami on June 8 to begin the first phase of scientific data collection along the Gulf Stream, as part of the University of Geneva’s PlanetSolar DeepWater scientific expedition.

MS Turanor PlanetSolar will contine its awareness campaign on photovoltaic efficiency by going to meet local populations. At each stop she transforms into an educational platform and educational activities aimed at young audiences are held onboard.