The Solar Circumnavigator project launched

Anthony Howarth confirmed today that Peoples Projects Foundation will fund The Solar Circumnavigator project.
â€Å“I first looked into the question of solar power and solar hybrid power for vehicles at the time of the 1979 second world fuel crisis. This research has continued right up to the present. In the summer of 1986 I originated the concept for a solar powered circumnavigation.

â€Å“In 1990 I converted a live-aboard sail boat to be fully solar self-sufficient in energy. In 1992 I made a formal proposal for a solar circumnavigation but found no sponsors. In 1994/5 I made a second proposal with my daughter, Karen Howarth. That project, launched in the House of Commons, attracted full trade sponsorship in equipment, batteries etc. but, once again, no financial sponsorship. By 1997 we had to abandon the project and the full sized prototype boat which we had built in 1995/96.

Twelve years later it gives me great pleasure and satisfaction to confirm that the Dutch foundation, Peoples Projects for the environment, has offered to raise the funding for The Solar Circumnavigator. With â€Å“the Peoples´ help the voyage will be undertaken in 2010.

Lelystad, Netherlands June 4, 2009
Anthony Howarth, 71, joked: â€Å“In case you wonder why old people sit on the park bench in the sun, you can be certain they are just using direct solar power to "recharge their batteries". I intend to do the same on The Solar Circumnavigator for about 120 days as I cruise around the world and discuss, on the internet, the potential for photovoltaics to be a major contributor in the fight against climate change!

â€Å“More seriously, it will be a long hard voyage but no longer and harder than many other difficult journeys I have made in my life.

â€Å“In 1959/60, at the age of 21, I drove round Africa, London-Cairo-Cape Town-Casablanca-London. About 35,000 miles in 9 months, mostly on appalling roads.
â€Å“In 1963 I drove from Nairobi, Kenya, to Cape Town, South Africa, and back taking in all the southern African countries. A six month journey on more bad roads and through rainy seasons.

â€Å“In 1971 and 1972 I crossed the Zagros mountains, of Iran, twice, on foot and by mule, with the Bakhtiari tribe on their annual migration - 500,000 people and about five million animals. Why? To make the classic cinema documentary, People of The Wind. In 1976/77 I was delighted and honoured to be nominated for both Oscar and Golden Globe awards for this film and to receive The Hollywood Film Institute´s Certificate of Excellence.

â€Å“In 1980 I was part of a crew who ferried Five B25 World War II Mitchell bombers via St John´s Newfoundland to The Azores, Portugal and England. The 75 minute film that I made of the two week flight, B25, Mitchells Do Fly in IMC, was transmitted by Channel 4 in the UK.

â€Å“In 1984 I drove with three prototype â€Å“Cars for Africa from the Arctic circle in deepest winter, across the Sahara, through the rain in central Africa, across the Equator in Uganda, to Nairobi and Mombassa in high summer. I had designed and built these vehicles for the five part Channel 4 documentary series A Car For Africa.

â€Å“Between 1988 and 2002 I covered 50,000 nautical miles, touching four continents, in a small sail boat, and I lived aboard, solar self-sufficient, for fourteen years.

â€Å“I never had an unsuccessful continent crossing journey or ocean crossing voyage, I have always succeeded, and have arrived where I intended. I do not intend to break that record in the case of The Solar Circumnavigator.

Anthony Howarth was present in Saudi Arabia in 1972 and 1973 when the oil was first â€Å“turned off to create the first world oil crisis. He was impressed and alarmed by attitudes he had encountered in Aramco and throughout the oil producing Middle East. Attitudes which, he believes, spawned the profligate business and energy structure of the world economy right up to the current economic crisis, and, worse yet, into an irreversible and potentially devastating climate crisis.

â€Å“Anything we can do to mitigate the effects of climate change would seem to be, not just worth doing, but an absolute priority.

Anthony added: â€Å“I believe The Solar Circumnavigator, the solar boat which I have designed, can complete the voyage in an authoritatively fast time, 120 days. For non-sailors, I should explain that this is as fast or faster than really experienced sailors can manage in large, powerful, modern production cruiser/racer.
Asked why he is so passionate about being The Solar Circumnavigator. Anthony replied:
â€Å“I have never been interested in solar car racing, although I have nothing but good wishes for those who choose to play with such cute, amusing and, dare I say, impractical vehicles. I have much the same feeling about Formula 1 motor racing.
On the other hand, I do find 25 kph or 45 kph solar utility vehicles capable of covering 25 kilometres a day, with no input and zero emissions, fascinating, and they are practical.

â€Å“To work with a neglected technology which could, on its own, reduce emissions from vehicle transport by 25% is a privilege, and it is frustrating. Solar vehicles (and solar boats) are still not above the horizon as far as the public and business are concerned and yet I use a ten year old solar vehicle almost every day.

â€Å“On Friday evenings, at my house in the country, I have the slightly bitter satisfaction of being the only person in the world taking the garbage (trash) cans to the pick-up point in a ten year old solar pick-up which was last charged from the mains more than 5 years ago it is all part of the film!

â€Å“These are just some reasons why, at my age, I still aim to become The Solar Circumnavigator, perhaps, even, The First Solar Circumnavigator!

â€Å“I chose this voyage because it is hard enough to be a real challenge, and long enough to allow me to very publicly, over the air waves and the internet, explore and expand the possibilities for photovoltaics in the immediate future as part of the fight against greenhouse gas emissions, as well as other atmospheric pollutants.

At the launch of The Solar Circumnavigator project in Holland, Dixon Van Iersel, founder of Peoples Projects Foundation, said: â€Å“Direct sun-to-user energy is one of the best options open to secure the future of our world. I believe that people, ordinary people, may understand this better than does the business community in its present form.

â€Å“Peoples Projects for the environment is ambitious. Its messages will be highly visible. The Solar Circumnavigator is a magnificent, practical, solar demonstration as well as the inspiration for an associated full length cinema feature film.

Anthony Howarth
Phone: +31 (0)87 784 78 19

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