“We see enormous potential for solar boats,” said project founder PlanetSolar, Swiss Raphael Domjan. “We have the technology to change and we are optimistic.” The white is a catamaran PlanetSolar of 31 by 15 meters, is equipped with over 500 square meters of solar panels and can reach a top speed of 15 knots, equivalent to 25 kilometers per hour.
The Swiss boat, which can carry up to 50 passengers, arrived in Hong Kong from the Philippines, after embarking on a world tour that started in Monaco in September 2010. Domjan acknowledged that it is unlikely that cargo ships and commercial shipping depend only on solar energy, but said it could be combined with other renewable energy sources like wind.
The PlanetSolar, a Swiss flag ship of 60 tons, was built in Germany and cost 18 million euros ($26 million). Merchant vessels are responsible for 4.5% of total emissions of greenhouse gases in the world, according to UN figures.