PLANETSOLAR & RaphaŽl Domjan





RaphaŽl Domjan in the SeaVax laboratory in Sussex, England


SOLAR COUSINS - RaphaŽl Domjan has long been an advocate of renewable energy, finally realising his dream in 2005, when he set up an association with people able to help him develop the PlanetSolar project. Five years later, a catamaran 35 metres long, 23 metres wide, with solar panels covering a surface of 537 m2 was launched.


With a crew of three, RaphaŽl set sail at the helm of 'his' solar boat on 27 September 2010, heading west in search of the sun. PlanetSolar returned with its Swiss skipper to 'le Rocher' on 4 May 2012 to complete the first solar-powered voyage around the world. This was a stunning world a record first and a milestone for solar powered marine transport.


RaphaŽl 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. Another faster version of SeaVax is the Elizabeth Swann, also heading toward the test tank where climate change is a major ocean game changer according to the United Nations as per SDG 13. Copyright photograph © Cleaner Ocean Foundation August 25 2017.





Born on the 19 January 1972 in Neuch‚tel, RaphaŽl Domjan dreamed from a very early age of following in the footsteps of Phileas Fogg, and in his youth he was already working on ideas of making a voyage around the world using the least amount of energy possible. At the time his choice of transport was an ultra-light amphibious vehicle. This idea, which remained a dream, was paradoxically fundamental to his future projects.

In 1998, he took part in the creation of 'Swissrescue'. To fund this association, which is concerned with environmental issues, its founding members hosted internet sites on the first 'solar servers' in the world. Then, following up on a trip around Lake Morat on a solar catamaran as part of an Expo.02 project (the Swiss national exposition in 2002) he got the idea of circumnavigating the world in a solar-powered boat.



PlanetSolar approaching New York





MS TŻranor PlanetSolar, known under the project name PlanetSolar, is the largest solar-powered boat in the world The catamaran was designed by LOMOcean Design, built by Knierim Yachtbau in Kiel, Germany, and launched on 31 March 2010.

In May 2012, it became the first solar electric vehicle ever to circumnavigate the globe.

The 31-metre boat is covered by 537 m2 of solar panels rated at 93 kW, which in turn connect to two electric motors, one in each hull. There are 8.5 tons of lithium-ion batteries in the ship's two hulls. The boat's shape allows it to reach speeds of up to 14 knots (26 km/h). The hull was model tested in wind tunnels and was tank tested to determine its hydrodynamics and aerodynamics. The boat was designed to be used as a luxury yacht after the record attempt was finished.

It is currently being used as a floating marine research laboratory by Geneva University.



SolarStratos in space, artists impression





RaphaŽl wants to continue demonstrating the potential of renewable energy. Having circumnavigated the world in a solar boat, he wants to go further and show that solar energy can enable us to do things that cannot be done with fossil fuels.

So it was that in March 2014 RaphaŽl Domjan launched the SolarStratos project. The aim of the mission is to make the first-ever manned solar-flight to the stratosphere. As with PlanetSolar, RaphaŽl is looking for ways to improve our knowledge and expertise in the development of technologies to create a sustainable world. For RaphaŽl SolarStratos is a symbol of the pioneering spirit of innovation with the aim of demonstrating the potential of renewable energies and energy efficiency.




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 This website is provided on a free basis as a public information service. copyright © Cleaner Oceans Foundation Ltd (COFL) (Company No: 4674774) August 2017. Solar Studios, BN271RF, United Kingdom. COFL is a charity without share capital. The names AmphiMaxô, RiverVaxô and SeaVaxô are trade  names used under license by COF in connection with their 'Feed The World' ocean cleaning sustainability campaign.