PlanetSolar successfully concludes her 2013 campaign in Paris Tue, Sep 10, 2013

UNEP has been an active partner of this first-ever large-scale scientific solar expedition by processing satellite data that guided the Planet Solar towards best locations for sampling.

The boat entering the port of Halifax, Canada

Paris, September 10, 2013 - PlanetSolar’s 2013 campaign, which began on April 8 in La Ciotat (France), came to an end today in Paris. In successfully completing an unprecedented campaign of scientific measurements along the Gulf Stream in collaboration with the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The world’s largest solar vessel has demonstrated throughout this journey that she could be used for practical purposes.

The ship sailed over 20,000 kilometers over the course of 156 days, raising the general public’s awareness about climate issues and promoting solar energy at each stopover. The Parisian stopover brings this 2013 mission to a close. A series of events will be organized in the ship’s vicinity from September 10-15, Port de Javel-Bas, quai André Citroën

This 2013 campaign has been specifically denoted by a new record for a transatlantic crossing, set in 22 days (4 days less than 2010), and by the public’s sensitization to climate issues during each of the 12 stopovers, such as in Miami, New York, Boston (United States), Halifax (Canada), and London (United Kingdom). The ship travelled over 20,000 kilometers-including over 8,000 which were dedicated to the scientific mission-in the wake of the Gulf Stream. The world’s largest solar vessel’s 2013 campaign wraps up today, against a backdrop of success.

Despite occasionally difficult sailing conditions due to weather vagaries, the catamaran has successfully achieved her objective-to demonstrate that she is not simply a mobile ambassador for photovoltaic energy. “This 2013 campaign was a fascinating challenge for me! Indeed, we had to follow the zigzag itinerary specified by the scientists, respect the stopover schedule, and simultaneously take into account the specificities of a solar ship! We are extremely happy to have reached Paris today, thereby demonstrating that the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar can go above and beyond a trip around the world, and has a very promising solar future ahead of her!” said Gérard d’Aboville, captain of the ship.

The “PlanetSolar DeepWater” scientific expedition, which was launched in Florida in early June and came to a close in London in August, inaugurated the new life of the solar catamaran. In collaboration with UNIGE, an interdisciplinary team of researchers used the boat’s unique features to carry out a campaign of unprecedented measurements along the Gulf Stream, the main regulator of European and North American climates. The collected data is currently being analyzed at UNIGE, and the researchers are already drawing a positive initial assessment.

“PlanetSolar DeepWater made it possible to test several scientific instruments-some of which were prototypes developed at UNIGE-in real conditions. Extensive physical, chemical, and biological data is now in the hands of the institution and will be the subject of a thorough analysis. Although the study of this information is not yet under way, interesting trends are becoming apparent, particularly in relation to sea spray aerosol production,” states Martin Beniston, climatologist and director of the Institute of Environmental Sciences at UNIGE.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has been an active partner of this first-ever large-scale scientific solar expedition by processing satellite data that guided the Planet Solar towards best locations for sampling. The scientists on the boat were indeed looking for specific zones with great variations in temperatures and chlorophyll concentration, as these zones carry large amounts of energy and provide best possible information. Now that UNEP has fulfilled its "GPS-by-satellite" guidance role, it will host all the scientific data collected during the mission and ensure they are easily accessible for download and processing by the scientists involved.

The success of this measurement campaign has opened the door to many projects for which the solar ship will be solicited: scientific campaigns with UNIGE, educational programs that support renewable energy, and a campaign to clean up floating plastic waste. The future looks promising for the catamaran; she will be of great use to both science and education.

A week of festivities in the heart of the City of Light

The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar will be docked at the quai André-Citroën from September 10-15 near the André-Citroën Park in Paris (15th arrondissement). Events hailing the end of the 2013 campaign will be organized, e.g. the “SolarSoundSystem” (musical entertainment powered by the sun), evenings devoted to philanthropic outreach, and onboard visits from schoolchildren.

An exhibition dedicated to the “DeepWater” scientific expedition-with its crew and researchers in attendance-will be open to the public on Thursday, September 12 from 2pm - 5pm in the orangery greenhouse of André-Citroën Park. The success of this 2013 campaign will bring together numerous partners and supporters during these 5 days.

The mayor of the 15th arrondissement, Mr. Philippe Goujon, is looking forward to hosting the ship for 5 days. “It is a tremendous honor to welcome the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar to the 15th-Paris’ maritime arrondissement-at the end of this 5-month human and scientific adventure. We are proud that this expedition is ending on the Seine, one of Paris’ most important monuments, and in our arrondissement, where PlanetSolar’s arrival symbolizes the excellence to which we aspire in terms of innovation and research.”

An enthusiasm shared with Jean-Jacques de Dardel, Swiss Ambassador to France. "The arrival of the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar in Paris, her last 2013 stopover, was awaited with great interest! The Swiss Ambassador to France is proud to be able to take part in this event, which exemplifies Switzerland’s spirit of innovation thanks to the ship herself as well as to the scientific expedition carried out by the University of Geneva. PlanetSolar is a beautiful showcase of Switzerland’s contribution to the environment".

The “PlanetSolar DeepWater” scientific expedition 

The “PlanetSolar DeepWater” expedition’s ambition was to collect a continuous series of physical and biological measurements, both in the water and in the air, using advanced instruments and the expertise of the UNIGE scientists. Led by Professor Martin Beniston, the research team studied the key parameters of climate regulation, namely aerosols and phytoplankton, in order to better understand the complex interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere, as well as the role these interactions play in climate change

The researchers were particularly interested in the phenomenon of ocean vortexes-large whirlpools that break away from the main part of the Gulf Stream-that influence heat exchanges with the atmosphere as well as the growth of phytoplankton.

About PlanetSolar

The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, built in Kiel, Germany, is a catamaran powered exclusively by solar energy. On May 4, 2012, after sailing for 584 days, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar completed the first solar-powered trip around the world.

For her 2013 expeditions, the ship underwent major maintenance operations. The most significant optimization was related to the propulsion system-the surface propellers were replaced by a completely immerged system. In addition, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar crew is comprised of: Gérard d’Aboville (Captain), Brieuc Delbot (Second), Antoine Simon (electrical engineer), Hugo Buratti (seaman and steward), and Vincent Brunet (steward). During the “PlanetSolar DeepWater” expedition, the UNIGE scientific team rounded out the crew.

In order to fund the 2013 campaign, PlanetSolar SA is supported by the University of Geneva, Ciel électricité, Switcher, the Swiss AOC-IGP Association, Younicos, Plantbacter, Actides, GoPro, Jean-René Germanier SA, BCCC Attorneys-at-Law, Tempur, Hempel, Présence Suisse, Energissima, UIM, YELLO, and Waste Free Oceans.

About the University of Geneva

Founded in 1559 by Jean Calvin and Théodore de Bèze, the University of Geneva (UNIGE) is now the second largest “Haute École” in Switzerland, and ranks among the top 100 universities in the world. Crown jewel of the Calvin community, the institution enjoys a privileged international reputation and cultivates its openness to the world.

UNIGE welcomes approximately 16,000 students each year to its eight colleges, dealing with the essential domains of science, medicine, literature, economic and social sciences, law, theology, psychology, education, translation, and interpretation sciences. UNIGE has three missions: education, research, and service to the community. Additionally, UNIGE has been a member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) since 2002. The University of Geneva would like to thank the Wright Foundation, the Henri Moser Foundation, the Ernst and Lucie Schmidheiny Foundation, and a generous anonymous donor for their support for the PlanetSolar DeepWater scientific campaign.

More information:

Planet Solar: - +41 79 547 42 14

University of Geneva: - +41 76 401 75 45

UNEP -Regional office for Europe: - +41 79 251 82 36

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