A company called MW-Line in Switzerland has been busy creating solar catamarans for tourism operations, where quietness and clean fuels are major pluses. Their Sun21, a 46 foot catamaran, was the first boat to cross the Atlantic on solar power alone. The Sun21 is actually a commercially available solar Aquabus C60, which holds 60 passengers.
The five-man Swiss crew took less than a month for the Atlantic crossing from the Canary Islands to the Bahamas.
‘Sunny days, we used to go 5 to 6 knots, and a little slower when it was cloudy,’ says the French-speaking skipper, Michel Thonney, of Moudon, Switzerland. ‘I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t use the sun’s power at sea—our voyage was fantastic.’
Thonney has crossed the Atlantic five times, in various vessels. After his latest exploit, though, he is looking for a bigger pond. ‘Our next project is named Planet Solar,’ he notes. ‘We’ll use solar power to take a 30-meter boat clear around the world.’ ‘This proves that in our modern society it is indeed possible to travel the world efficiently and still safeguard the environment.’
The founder of MW-Line is Swiss shipbuilder Mark Wüst. He says MW-Line has built more than 30 Aquabus solar boats for public transportation. These Aquabuses have passenger capacity of between 15 and 75. ‘These electrosolar boats of MW-Line SA are operating on rivers and lakes in France, Switzerland, Germany and France already. The running costs are 20 to 45 times less than for the equivalent powered motor boat.’
Now MW-Line is extending its ranges from Solar Aquabus to leisure boats. It unveiled its latest solar powered houseboat to the public on the lake of Gruyère on Wednesday.
The 8.5-metre (28 feet) Aquabus features a four-bunk cabin, kitchenette and a small bathroom. The cabin’s roof is covered with solar panels supplying the batteries with renewable electricity. The houseboat’s price ranges between US $65,000 to US$110,000.
Via: Sail World