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Go Solar

The Free
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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. 

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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.
 

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Solar Gajner

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.  


RA 11
Following the success of the Solar Pichola, Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar approved the conversion of one of his tourist boats capable of carrying 12 passengers.   We took to India an Occo Sachs electric motor based on a Lynch motor replacing the petrol engine of a conventional outboard.  The 14 x 70 Watt panels and electronics were supplied by AES Ltd of Delhi.  8 x 12 Volt deep cycle 65 Amp hr batteries store the charge and the boat operates for 2 to 3 hours each day taking tourists to the spectacular Jagmandir Island at Udaipur in Rajasthan.

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RA11

RA11 operates daily with little maintenance, no fuel costs and only 2 sets of batteries in 12 years.  The only real problem has been overheating of the Curtis controller and Lynch motor.   Other electric motors have been tested and there have been 9 years of satisfactory performance with a Combi 1200 (Not currently in production) and though noisy a Torqeedo 2000.  Certainly pod motors work better in hot countries.


S B COLLINDA

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S B Collinda

Constructed by Modular Mouldings of Gweek Cornwall it was originally designed as a solar boat to test new engines to find replacements for the overheating Occo Sachs motors used in India.   It was however, speedily put in to operation to win the challenge to be the first boat to cross the English Channel under solar power. 

The S B Collinda made the crossing on July 22nd 1997 taking 6 hrs 15 minutes from Dover to the French coast.   We were presented with the Eurosolar award in 1998.  She is now based on the Thames and is available for demonstration and engine testing.


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The Julia Moss Trophy

The Julia Moss Trophy is awarded for a significant contribution to solar boating.

This new trophy was donated to the Electric Boat Association by Malcolm Moss in memory of his late wife and is to be awarded specifically for solar cruises, innovations or achievements for solar powered electric boating. 

 

 

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