Mark, 28 June 2009Langkawi Gazette - Solar Boat of JungleWalla

No Noise, No Cost, No Pollution

JungleWalla Nature Tours has just gotten Langkawi’s first Solar Powered Boat.

“ It has been Irshad’s wish for quite a while to have an environmental friendly motor boat to reduce noise, fuel and exhaust pollutants. Early this year that dream came true when we met Philip Johnston, director of Power Eco Energy Solutions.”

In the Mangroves and Inland waterways, where the water is calm, this kind of boat with its silent engine will be very useful. The marine life will not be scared away by a loud outboard – and the possibility for the Tour Guide to explain the nature along the way without having to shout against the engine noise are just two of the many obvious benefits.

Of course there are questions. As an ex-sailor with a big Sailing cat and with many Solar Panels on the roof – just for powering my instruments, a radio and a fridge - I am aware that powering a boat by Solar Energy only is still very limited at the moment.

So I have asked Philip Johnston, director of ‘Power Eco Energy Solutions’ a few questions, and these were his answers:

 

Engine:

a 48 V DC electric motor, Brand: Torqeedo 4 from Germany with a nylon prop. (see Website Torqeedo)

 HP:          

The engine has about 10 HP and is able to run this boat with 10 persons aboard at a maximum speed of about 6 to 7 knots in calm water.

Batteries:

12 pieces 120 AMP Gel Batteries for high cycle usage

Solar Panels:

Installation of a hard bimini top which carries 4 x 130 watt 12volt solar panels connected in series
4 Panels in series, monocrystalline, giving nearly 8 amps at 48 volts

Boat:

24 foot boat, Aluminium, Australian design, put together in Butterworth. The Boat is not welded, but sealed.

Speed and Reach:

The fully charged batteries last for about 7 to 8 hours at a cruising speed of 4-5 knots.

Usage and Battery-Life:

The batteries and boat when used like Irshad of Jungle Walla is doing, a couple of hours per day, will run without the aid of shore/dock side charging . We expect with soft use like this the solar panels will keep the batteries charged by themselves. Under ideal conditions the manufacturers tell us the batteries have a 10 year life .

Under normal operating conditions you can operate the boat for 6 or 7 hours every  day and still have a good % of charge left in the battery bank, which can then be re charged with your shore battery charger which is installed in the boat. Like this the batteries will last for around 5 years at least we estimate . 

Emergency

For an emergency or in bad weather conditions the boat still has a 15 HP outboard engine as a reserve.

These Solar Boats seem to be in demand already: The next boat to be delivered will be for 'Dev's Adventure Tours', Langkawi, delivered in about 3 weeks.

In the middle of next month there will be an official Press Release about the boat.

 

http://www.junglewalla.com/journal/?p=182