Clean Technica | By: Charles W. Thurston | January 31, 2019:
An operator of a custom glass-bottomed dolphin observation boat has combined Sunflare solar panels with lithium-ion batteries for what may be the first charter vessel of it kind, says the Key West owner. Dubbed “The Squid,” the vessel was designed for tour operator Honest Eco by David Walworth, an MIT-educated boat designer and builder.
The vessel sports Squid has two BMW i3 batteries that weigh in at about 1200 pounds, while the 12 custom-sized modules produce 2000 watts of power and weigh only 120 pounds combined. Sunflare’s light, thin, and flexible CIGS panels have only one-quarter of the weight of traditional solar panels.
The owner says it’s the first of its kind plug-in, lithium ion battery-powered, hybrid charter boat with purely electric motors. Electricity is stored in the batteries, which can be recharged from shore power, the Sunflare panels, or a top EPA tier backup diesel motor.
The Squid is only one of a new wave of catamarans that are being designed by various companies in the U.S. and Europe to operate entirely on renewable energy.
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