Solar boat docks in Hong Kong

2011-08-15 16:26
Hong Kong - There is "huge potential" to use alternative energy in the shipping industry, the man behind the world's biggest solar boat said on Monday as it arrived in Hong Kong as part of a global voyage.

PlanetSolar, a 31m by 15m white catamaran, is equipped with more than 500m2 of solar panelling and can reach a top speed of around 15 knots, equivalent to 25km/h.

"We see there is a huge potential for solar boats," project founder Raphael Domjan said.

"We have the technology to change and we are optimistic."

Domjan acknowledged it was unlikely cargo and commercial ships would rely on solar power alone, but said it could be combined with other clean energy sources like wind.

The boat, which can carry up to 50 passengers, arrived in Hong Kong from the Philippines after embarking on a world tour from Monaco last September.

The 60 ton Swiss-flagged vessel was built in Germany and cost €18m ($26m).

Merchant shipping accounts for 4.5% of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions, according to UN figures.

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