These days you can find solar power everywhere. It’s not just on rooftops or soaking up rays in expansive fields. You can find solar-powered calculators, cell phone chargers,and grills. So it only makes sense that solar is making its debut in the transportation industry.
Solar Boats & Ferries
Solar boats are electrical boats, with independent, quiet and clean engines, whose batteries store free energy from the sun.
On the seas and inland waters as well as along their banks there are only a few connections to public electricity mains. People who live on inland waterway crafts, sailing boats, space stations and houseboats, are dependent on batteries, just as the owners of electrically propelled boats. But batteries sometimes discharge and must be replenished. One of the most elegant solutions for this is solar electricity. Solar modules on a ship can charge the batteries on the spot – cleanly and efficiently with free energy from the sun.
Solar electricity plants are reliable and durable. There are ever more areas of application for solar electricity, due to lowering prices and improving technologies. Right now we have Photovoltaic modules which are set in the roof of the ship.
There are many such projects in India and globally which are harnessing the solar energy to power boats and ferries. Some of these ferries are big enough to accommodate up to 150 passengers. Navalt is currently the only one in India which is manufacturing commercially viable solar ferries and boats.
The world’s first solar-powered bus was introduced in 2013, in Adelaide, Australia. Adelaide’s city council was keen on reducing the city’s carbon emissions as more than 30% of it came from transportation, both public and private.
The Tindo (that’s the name of the buses) buses are quite unique as they are 100% electric, meaning they are generating zero emission, unlike gas-powered and hybrid fleets. However, the bus is not powering itself, it doesn’t have any solar panels installed on it, but it has a battery that is being charged at the Adelaide central bus station before setting out on routes around town. On an average weekday, with average traffic conditions, the bus can cover about 200km before it’s battery is drained and needs a recharge, however the regenerative brake system can extend battery life slightly.
Well, solar impulse is the only airplane that is able to fly day and night just by using solar energy. It is by far the most ambitious solar aircraft project so far. It’s current aim is to carry out the first round-the-world solar flight. It’s ambitions are heavily backed with 12 years of feasibility studies, concept and design developments.
The project enjoys the solid assist of 50 engineers, 80 technological partners and more than 100 advisors and suppliers. The final aircraft, Solar Impluse 2 has to undertake a few more small improvements before heading for the sky and completing the first solely solar around-the-world flight in 2015.