Alappuzha to get 15 solar powered boats; A single catamaran to cost Rs 2.5 crore

The model of the boat that will be in service from July. Photo: Special Arrangement

Alappuzha: The water transport department is all set to introduce fifteen electric boats powered by solar energy in the district.

This is part of the department’s initiative to turn fifty percent of its boats into solar powered vessels. The first such boat will reportedly begin service by the first week of July.

The boats that can accommodate up to 30, 75 and 100 passengers respectively would be introduced. The solar electric boat that operated service in the Vaikom – Thavanakadavu route, on an experimental basis, was a huge success.

A single catamaran built in fibre would cost around Rs 2.5 crore. Up to thirty passengers can travel in the first boat that begins service in July. Meanwhile, the new boats would be assigned in the Muhamma – Maniyamparambu route.

Currently, the water transport department do not run too many services in this route. As they are built in fibre, the catamarans are lighter. The boats are being built at the yards in Pattanakad and Panavally.

Aditya, the country’s first solar powered boat was introduced by the Kerala Water Transport department. The boat had saved around 58,450 litres of fuel in the first two years. The department was also able to earn a profit of Rs 41 lakh. Aditya runs services in Vaikom – Thavanakadavu route.

Less expense
Regular boats require diesel worth Rs 10,000 to run for up to thirteen hours a day. Around 120 litres of diesel are required. However, when the boats run on solar energy, the expenses would be reduced to just Rs 350.

Meanwhile, the boats could be operated using regular electricity, in the evenings when the sun isn’t strong. Rs 350 will be the electricity charges. Currently, most boats owned by the water transport department run on loss. Many services do not even collect the amount that is spent for fuel. The See Kuttanad and Vega boats that run services in the tourism sector are the only ones that are profitable.

Double engine boat
The catamaran passenger boats have double engine and are built using modern technology to ensure the safety of the passengers.  

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