Kochi: The success of ‘Aditya’, country’s first solar-powered ferry deployed in Vaikom-Tavanakadavu section of Alappuzha district, could soon pave way for rolling out of solar fishing boats in the region.
As more boat manufacturers focus on green-fuel vessels, the makers of ‘Aditya’, the Kochi-based ‘NavAlt solar and Electric Boats’, have gone a step further and initiated a research project to make a solar fishing boat that would suit the requirements of small fishing community in areas such as Vypeen and Kodungallur.
“We spent six months in Gujarat to study the requirements of small fishermen and converted a few small boats to solar-powered ones. There were many challenges including the period of operation and cutting down the cost of manufacturing,” said Sandith Thandasherry, CEO.
NavAlt has exhibited the boat model and design in the two-day Cochin International Boat Show which concluded on Friday. The design of the solar fishing boat is over and the company aims to roll out the first fishing boat in four months.
“The catamarine-hull form boat is being made at our own expense and the boat will be given to the fishing community in Vypeen for a first-hand experience. We target the fishermen using small boats costing around `2 lakh,” he said.
‘NavAlt’ is attempting to cut manufacturing cost of solar fishing boat to below Rs 10 lakh. “The benefit to the fishermen is long term and could achieve break-even in 40 months. Also maintenance cost is negligible as proved in the case of ‘Aditya’. The fisherman could meet the initial cost using government subsidies. They can start reaping big profits for their catches in two years,” Sandith pointed out.
‘Aditya’ already completed nearly 20 months of operation and the State Water Transport Department already placed orders for manufacturing two more solar boats besides a tourist ferry.