Solar energy to power next generation of lake vessels

Model of the "Mobicat", which will take to the water next June Keystone

The world's largest solar-powered passenger vessel will make its maiden voyage on Lake Biel next spring. The "Mobicat" catamaran will have a top speed of 22km/h and be able to carry up to 250 passengers.

This content was published on July 12, 2000 - 16:16

The 33-metre vessel is designed to take advantage of the latest development in solar power technology. It will be developed at a cost of SFr2 million in the Bernese Jura region, which is the home of Switzerland's major solar research and development centre.

Martin Pfister, president of the company at the at the centre of the project, Mont Soleil, said the idea was conceived while his company was looking at ways of using solar power technologies for commercial purposes.

"Mobicat" will have a cruising speed of 14km/h and will serve the three Jura lakes of Biel, Neuchatel and Murten. There will be a restaurant on board and there are plans to use the boat during planned national exhibition, Expo 02.

Other partners in the project include specialist energy and naval construction groups, 10 Swiss electricity companies and the company, ABB. "Mobicat" also has the support of the federal energy office.

The launch of the project comes after the maiden voyage in June of the world's first commercial marine vessel to be totally powered by the sun and the wind. That boat will ferry visitors to the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

swissinfo with agencies

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Sort by

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Almost finished... We need to confirm your email address. To complete the subscription process, please click the link in the email we just sent you.

Discover our weekly must-reads for free!

Sign up to get our top stories straight into your mailbox.

The SBC Privacy Policy provides additional information on how your data is processed.