First solar ferry basks in global limelight

Aditya, India’s first solar ferry which  

Aditya, India’s first solar ferry, walked away with the Gustave Trouvé Award for Excellence in Electric Boats and Boating, warding off stiff competition from five European finalists. The award was announced on Monday.

The vessel was adjudged the world’s best electric boat, in the category of ‘ferries designed for paid passenger service.’ Aditya is capable of seating 75 people and was built by Kochi-based Navalt Solar and Electric Boats in 2017 for the Kerala State Water Transport Department (SWTD). It has been ferrying commuters on the Vaikom-Thavanakadavu route since.

This is the only international award, given in three categories, exclusively for electric boats. Aditya had made it to the list of six finalists a month ago. Over 10,000 people from across the globe voted to choose solar boats they considered the best from amongst 50 small and big ones (like Aditya) in the fray from Europe, the U.S., and Singapore. The fully solar-powered commuter ferry is one of the great stories of the future of electric marine propulsion, read the award.

In honour of Trouvé

The result was announced in Paris on the 118th death anniversary of Trouvé, a prolific inventor with over 75 patents to his name. In 1881, he connected an electric motor to a battery, attached the contraption to his boat Le Teléphone, set off down the Seine river and made history - the world’s first outboard motor, attached to one of the earliest rechargeable batteries.

Aditya’s main attraction is its low operational cost. It needs just ₹180 per day as energy cost, in comparison to over ₹8,000 required for a diesel ferry, says Sandith Thandasherry, founder CEO of Navalt.

Fuel saver

“It has already achieved break-even and has transported over 11 lakh passengers over 70,000 km. It has thus saved SWTD over 1 lakh litres of diesel worth approximately ₹75 lakh. ,” he said.

Aditya, which costs ₹2 crore, sailed into victory, defying a few naval architects who were sceptical of a solar vessel operating 22 trips, each time carrying 75 passengers. It is considered a game changer in India’s solar-powered boat sector. Officials from over 40 countries have flown down to check out the ferry. The SWTD has placed orders for three more ferries.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 9:14:19 PM |

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