The state of Kerala is all set to provide power to its ferries and tourist boats through solar power as the primary source of fuel. This decision was taken considering the climate change concerns and the cost of operations.

Inland Navigation Corporation Ltd (KSINC) and city-based Kerala Shipping jointly are ready to launch the first solar-powered tourist boats. It is a double-decker vessel that can carry 100 passengers in one go.

The boat has been named “Suryanshu”. State Water Transport Department (SWTD) is expected to roll out five solar-powered ferries in early 2022 and a double-decked tourist vessel in a month.

The Alappuzha-based SWTD had created headlines in 2017 with the launch of Aditya, said to be the first fully solar-powered ferry in Asia. After its daily operational expenses of the Vaikom-Thavanakadavu ferry fell from ₹8,000 per day on diesel to ₹200. The ferry going to net the best ferry award in 2020. The department has placed orders for five sister ferries and a tourist’s vessel.

Advantages of Tourist Boats

An estimation process and cost-benefit analysis of the shift to other energy modes is underway. The advantages are many, nil or negligible sound and air pollution and far less maintenance. This is especially true with solar-powered vessels which have just a few moving parts. Efforts are also underway to replace the KSINC’s official cars which incur high fuel and maintenance expenses.

Reference: The Hindu