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Solar-powered boat prepares to conquer world

The biggest boat to be powered by solar energy, left, has been displayed in Germany before it begins preparations to circumnavigate the globe.

The 31m (100ft) by 15m catamaran, PlanetSolar, has been developed to be silent and clean, its Swiss-based maker said. The ship will be able to travel at a top speed of 15 knots (17mph) and carry 50 people.

The PlanetSolar, which was built in Kiel, Germany, will be launched in March and will be part of celebrations at Hamburg port in May. A crew of two plan to begin the world tour, which will cover about 40,000km (24,850 miles) along the equator, from April next year.

Its maker, which is also called PlanetSolar, wants to use the voyage to promote solar power and other non-polluting sources of energy.