An innovative boat, powered by solar energy, was launched in the backwaters off Kochi on Wednesday. The boat, a churulan, a craft made in the conventional style, was equipped with solar panels for continuous operation for four hours.

While several advanced countries are making innovative projects based on solar energy, it is for the first time that a solar energy-powered craft is being launched in Kerala, said Georgekutty Karianappally, whose solar devices company, Lifeway Solar, provided the idea and equipped the boat with solar energy technology.

The boat can carry four passengers apart from the operator, and travel at a speed of 15 km. The boat's design is ideal for travel through rivulets in Kuttanad. It can be pressed into service for tourists, especially foreigners, who would like to see the countryside on boat, he said. The boat was built for a resort based in Kumarakom.

Mr. Georgekutty said his company had earlier launched several projects based on solar energy. These include solar incubator, solar milking machine and solar oil heater.

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