The PlanetSolar foundation came out of the expedition to prove that solar energy can provide renewable energy for ocean transport.



Raphael Domjan is a Swiss electrical engineer who dreamed of sailing the seas economically using solar power. He dared to pursue his dream until one day in 2008 he met Immo Stroeher a German industrialist with a philanthropic outlook, who used his entrepreneurial skills to provide the backing that a project like PlanerSolar needs to breath life into a paper concept and turn it into a reality for everyone to marvel at.


Raphael was trained as an electronics engineer but he is also ambulance man, jet and glider pilot, and mountain guide. In love with Nature, he is a Jack of all trades and a fervent defender of clean energy. Like others, he feels that we rapidly need to find alternatives to our wild oil consumption but that, at the same time, the huge potential of renewable energy still need to be proven and promoted.

Raphael then imagines an extraordinary adventure inspired by his reading of Jules Verne’s novels; traveling around the world aboard a ship which is propelled by only solar energy. It’s an ecological and technological journey that seems feasible to him but it’s something that no one has ever tried.

The dream starts taking shape in February 2008 thanks to a meeting with M. Immo Ströher who has a long-standing interest in solar technology and possesses a solid experience in that matter. The German businessman and the Swiss Phileas Fogg become partners. By combining their capital, their ideas and their inexhaustible energy, Raphaël Domjan and Immo Ströher seek to demonstrate that a motor vessel can function from today without using any fossil fuel and that this clean and eco-aware navigation has a commercial future.

After two years of designing and assembling in Kiel’s shipyards, the idea has become a project and the result is a boat that remains unique so far: the Tûranor PlanetSolar. Beyond the dream and the emotion that this adventure creates, the PlanetSolar project brings together an international team made up of physicians, engineers, shipbuilders and sailors that contribute day after day, miles after miles, to the success of first trip around the world using solar energy.



Raphaël Domjan visits the SeaVax development facilities in Sussex


AUGUST 2017 - Raphaël Domjan is pictured here in the recently built robotics laboratory in Sussex, England where SeaVax, also a solar (and wind) powered vessel, is being developed as an ocean cleaning workboat. He is now working on SolarStratos in an attempt to use solar power to reach the stratosphere. 


A solar powered sprinter named the Elizabeth Swan after the Governor's daughter in Pirates of the Caribbean, is under construction in the UK as a 1/20th scale tank test model, with a view to proving the concept of a sub 365 day circumnavigation. The present record stands at 584 days. Copyright photograph © Cleaner Ocean Foundation August 25 2017.




An example of a practical application for solar powered vehicles is the SeaVax. SeaVax is designed to sweep and vacuum up plastic from our oceans using only energy harvested from nature. Thanks to Raphael and Immo setting the benchmark in 2012, nobody would now think such a concept to be crazy. Indeed, they would (as we do) think that it was a logical next step.












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