PlanetSolar DeepWater

The official site of the 2013 expedition, including the blogs composed by the scientific and navigation crew, photos, and much more, can be accessed via PlanetSolar DeepWater

A short movie (4 1/2 minutes) of the solar vessel and the "DeepWater" expedition can be viewed by clicking on PlanetSolar DeepWater Video


During the 2013 "DeepWater" Expedition, "Tûranor Planet Solar" made stopovers in numerous ports, including New York (mid-June, left-hand photo), London (end-August, middle picture), and Paris (mid-September, right-hand photo).


The PlanetSolar DeepWater expedition took place in the Spring and Summer of 2013 and enabled researchers from the University of Geneva to take advantage of the exclusive features of the Swiss MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, the largest solar vessel ever built. The researchers conducted a unique campaign of physical and biological measurements along the Gulf Stream, using a ship that emits no carbon or other pollutants. This scientific expedition had the principal aim of improving our understanding of the interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere, while raising public awareness of the complexity of climate change and its impacts.

Why the University of Geneva?

An interdisciplinary team of scientists from the Institute of Environmental Sciences (ISE), the Group/Department of Applied Physics (GAP), and the Forel Institute for Aquatic Sciences (FOREL) used the data collected onboard to improve our understanding of the ocean processes involved in climate regulation. The applied physics group has used the expedition to test a new instrument (the so-called "BioBox") dedicated to the study of aerosols at the ocean-atmosphere interface. Finally, a pedagogical team used the expedition to develop didactic activities and resources that address climate change from a perspective that is both educational and fun.

Why the Gulf Stream?

This ocean current helps to carry heat from the tropics to the polar regions in the North Atlantic, making it one of the most important regulators of the European and North American climates.

Why the Swiss solar-powered catamaran "Tûranor Planet Solar"?

The use of a ship that is optimized and powered by renewable energy highlights one of the current technological solutions to the climate problem. The lack of pollution emissions guarantees that the atmospheric measurements are not be contaminated by the pollution associated with fuel combustion of a "classical" ocean-going vessel. In addition, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is the only solar boat large enough to accommodate scientists.

Who participated in the expedition?

The “PlanetSolar DeepWater” expedition was initiated and coordinated by Martin Beniston, Head of the Institute for Environmental Sciences – UNIGE for the scientific elements, and by Didier Raboud, Head of the Press and Information Service – UNIGE for the communication and outreach activities related to the expedition.


The scientific committee consisted of the following UNIGE professors:

- Martin Beniston (ISE and GAP)

- Christel Hassler (FOREL)

- Bastiaan Ibelings (FOREL)

- Jérôme Kasparian (GAP)

- Jean-Pierre Wolf (GAP)


The scientific crew who navigated various legs of the expedition (Saint-Martin – Miami; Miami-New York; Boston-Halifax; Halifax-St John’s Newfoundland; St John’s-Oostende; Oostende-London; London-Paris) include:

- Le T Anh Dao (FOREL and ISE)

- Nicolas Berti (GAP)

- Sebastien Bigorre (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Mass., USA)

- Violeta Djambazova (ISE)

- Elena Gascon Diez (FOREL)

- Denis Kiselev‎ (GAP)

- Thibaud Magouroux (GAP)

- Tristan Neri (ISE)

- Daniel Palomino (FOREL)

- Stefanie Pfändler (ISE)

- Gustavo Sousa (GAP)


In addition, “Mission Control” in Geneva, whose role was to guide “Tûranor PlanetSolar” into interesting waters for measurement purposes, included in addition to the Scientific Committee members the following scientists:

- Maura Brunetti (ISE)

- Gregory Giuliani (ISE)

- Pierric de Laborie (ISE)

- Nicolas Ray (ISE)


The members of the UNIGE Press and Information Service involved in “DeepWater” comprise the following persons:

- Sylvie Fournier

- Anne Laufer

- Sophie Hulo

- Julie Michaud

- Didier Raboud

- Catherine Sattiva

- Fabienne Sisbane

- Melina Tiphicoglou

- Candice Yvon



The navigating crew was led by Captain Gérard d’Aboville, the first man to row across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and was comprised of the crew members from Brittany:

- Vincent Brunet

- Hugo Buratti

- Brieuc Delbot

- Antoine Simon


The expedition was also conducted in close co-operation with “Planet Solar SA”, with the following persons:

- Pascal Goulpié (CEO)

- Rachel Bros de Puechredon (Head of Media Communications)

- Julia Tames (Media and Events Coordinator)


Finally, the expedition would not have been possible without the Owners of the ship, the Ströher Family, who had the vision of allowing "Tûranor Planet Solar" to be used for science and communication.



Follow the 2013 expedition, the blogs composed by the scientific and navigation crew, photos, and much more, by clicking on PlanetSolar DeepWater