The State Water Transport Department (SWTD) of Kerala operates about 100 ferry boats of different sizes from 75 to 100 passengers all over the state. They were all single-hulled boats, either made of wood or steel and powered by diesel engines. Around 2013, they were facing a big issue. Although air and water pollution is a significant environmental problem, that was not the pressing issue. The noise and vibration from a diesel engine that makes the ride tiring for passengers and crew, although important, was not the prime issue. It was also not the smell of fuel that makes the ride uncomfortable. The biggest issue they faced at that time was the high operating cost that made the boats unsustainable.
Kerala solar ferry 'Aditya', the India’s first solar-powered ferry, wins coveted global honor. It has won the prestigious Gustave Trouve Award for Excellence in Electric Boats and Boating in the category - Electric Boats Designed for Paying Passengers. Aditya was the only ferry from Asia among the 12 vessels from across the globe shortlisted for the award. The Aditya, from Navalt Boats, is a sun-powered commuter ferry that is one of the great stories of the future of electric marine propulsion. Every day Aditya makes 22 trips with 75 people on board – that’s 580,000 people a year – and the charging cost to top up the batteries is $2.60 a day, preventing the burning of 58,000 litres of diesel and saving ₹ 4,612,000 – $ 65,000 a year. It is equipped with ultra-modern facilities like eco-sounder, GPS, hydraulic steering, automatic pump to remove water from the haul and many other facilities.
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