What started as a proof-of-concept – PlanetSolar’s Tûranor solar boat recently circumnavigated the globe – is now setting sail again on a research mission in the Atlantic Ocean’s Gulf Stream.
PlanetSolar wasn’t really sure what it was going to do with the 115ft solar boat once it had gone around the world completely on solar power. Perhaps it could have been turned into a solar-powered luxury yacht or even an off-shore backup battery. The Tûranor has found a higher purpose however, as a solar-powered research vessel.
Actually, when you think about it, the Tûranor solar boat, or a sailboat, could be the perfect platform for oceangoing research involving air quality and water measurements. The PlanetSolar DeepWater project will be studying air quality using an aerosol analyzer developed by the University of Geneva.
The BioBox will help to determine the impact of aerosols on air quality and climate change. A diesel engine spewing carbon dioxide and other pollutants would throw off measurements considerably, but the solar boat doesn’t have this limitation.
Additionally, the scientists aboard the Tûranor solar boat will be studying phytoplankton and their impact on climate regulation. Another area of special interest will be thermohaline circulation, part of the ocean conveyor belt that circulates warmer surface waters with deep ocean currents. The PlanetSolar Tûranor will also be making publicity stops at various cities during its research mission, including Rabat, Morocco, Miami, Florida, New York City, and Reykjavik, Iceland.