Kochi: A low-cost, eco-friendly passenger ferry, Aditya, has won the Gustave Trouvé award for Excellence in Electric Boats and Boating.
It was adjudged the world’s best electric boat in the category ‘ferries designed for paid passenger service.’
Aditya reportedly made it to the list of six finalists one month ago. Over 10,000 people from across the globe voted to choose solar boats they considered the best from amongst 50 ferries from Europe, the U.S., and Singapore.
The award is instituted in the memory of Gustave Trouvé a prolific electric engineer and inventor with over 75 patents to his name.
The country’s first solar boat has been ferrying commuters on the Vaikom – Thavanakkadavu route, roughly 2.5 km on water, connecting Kottayam and Alappuzha districts of Kerala, since 2017. Each day the ferry makes 22 trips.
Aditya, with a capacity of seating 75 people, was built by Kochi-based startup NavAlt Solar and Electric Boats at a cost of ₹ 2 crore, is operated by Kerala State Water Transport Department (KSWTD).
Aditya reportedly needs just ₹180 per day as energy cost when compared to ₹ 8,000 required for a diesel ferry.
According to Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, 3 years of ferry service has resulted in a savings of 1 lakh litre of diesel and a reduction of CO2 by 280 tonnes. He estimates the project will break even and start churning out an annual profit of ₹ 25 lakh by the end of this year.
Next month, NavAlt is expected to operationalise a double-decker. A solar-powered ferry for 100 passengers to be run on tourist circuits in Alapuzha. Five more passenger ferries will be released by next year according to Sandith Thandassery, the founder-CEO of NavAlt.