|The most perfect examples of sustainable transport are solar boats. The Photo Voltaic (PV) panels on the canopy of the boat produce electricity which is stored in batteries that power an electric motor. Electric boats are not new – they were the prestigious boats to have at Henley in Victorian times capable of taking 100 passengers. Many were converted to be powered by internal combustion engines in the early 20th century but those that remain are being converted back to electric and there is a growing preference for electric boats on inland waterways. Not all are small, the Queen Mary 2 is powered by 6 very large Rolls Royce pod electric motors which give the passengers a quiet, vibration free non polluting journey and the captain the ability to moor at Southampton without the aid of tugs. For ref see www.eboat.org.uk |
The Julia Moss
Julia was fundamental in finding people to take the bizarre idea of a solar boat from the terrace in Udaipur to reality with the building in the UK and then launching, in 1993, of the world’s first solar powered water taxi on Lake Pichola Udaipur. Now there are thousands of solar powered boats all over the world and any city in Europe and beyond proposing a ferry or tourist boat for 100 + passengers is likely to procure a solar hybrid boat. With this rapid advance in technology it has been hard to find a suitable new development for The Julia Moss.
Due to pollution, fertilizer run off and perhaps Climate Change inland waterways all over the world are becoming clogged with weed and navigation, in many areas principally in Africa, Asia and even in the UK, is difficult if not impossible. The weed wraps around the propeller which is particularly worrying for electric drives that tend to turn slower than noisy internal combustion engines. Working with Rolf Schmidt in Inverness and with many others here in Udaipur we believe we are overcoming this problem and have built “The Julia Moss” which is currently under trials at the fabulous resort of Jhadol 40 kilometers south of Udaipur. The breakthrough is going back in time to use paddle wheels which are not affected by the weed in the water. But, say you, Isambard Kingdom Brunel proved that the propeller was more efficient than the paddle with his Tug of War between the HMS Rattler a propeller powered warship against the HMS Alecto a paddle wheeler with the Rattler eventually winning. However politics were at play and when you go back in to the Parliamentary archives there is more to the situation. The Admiralty changed to screw propellers for the simple reason they were not so susceptible to being damaged by enemy gunfire. There were critics and it should be noted the two ships were not identical with the Alecto being smaller. Our initial experiments are indicating that the elementary paddle wheels are more efficient than commercial electric outboard motors and much more maneuverable. So the good news is Julia, together with many contributors, should be pleased that The Julia Moss will provide the technology to open up closed waterways throughout the world.
The Julia Moss sailing through the weed without any problem as the paddles do not get clogged
Solar Pichola now Solar Gajner
The Solar Pichola was the world’s first commercial solar boat built by us in the UK at the inspiration of Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar, Chairman and Managing Trustee of the Maharana Mewar Charitable Foundation (MMCF) and sometimes referred to as HH Maharana of Udaipur who was concerned at the pollution of Lake Pichola in Udaipur Rajasthan India. The boat acted as a taxi service operating in silence with no pollution, noise or emissions.
Click to enlarge image
The boat has now been transferred to Gajner Rajasthan where it takes tourists, scientists and government officials bird watching in perfect peace and quiet on the beautiful lake. The design is simple. A dory hull which is very stable has a canopy of 8 x 50 Watt solar panels that send the electricity to a single 12 Volt 60 amp hr battery that propels a small Minn Kota trolling motor. A solar controller monitors current to and from the battery to prevent over charging and discharge.