Riding the wave of solar power, NavAlt soars high
By Toby Antony | Express News Service | Published: 26th November 2016 02:12 AM |
KOCHI: Electric boat manufacturing firm NavAlt is all set to break its own record of making the fastest solar-powered boat in the world. Behind the success of 39-year-old Sandith Thandassery, CEO of NavAlt, there are several years of hard work. Sandith, who graduated from IIT-Madras in Naval Engineering in 1999, was living comfortably and working in a South Korean ship-building company, when he quit his job and took up entrepreneurship.
Hailing from Peringottukara in Thrissur, Sandith did his schooling in Thiruvananthapuram, where his father was working in ISRO. With a dream to start his own ship building firm, Sandith moved to France to pursue studies at INSEAD, a premier business school. In 2009, he launched Navgathi Marine Design and Construction, and since then, his team has been working on boat designing.
According to Sandith, it was no cakewalk. “The quest to do something innovative prompted us to turn to construction of solar boats. After repeated failures, our team successfully brought out a small solar boat, which was noticed by French boat making company AltEn Systems. Discussions were held and NavAlt formed a joint venture with AltEn and French firm Eve Systems in 2013,” he said.
Meanwhile, the first solar boat built by Sandith entered the Limca Book of Records for being the fastest such boat in the world. “The boat could travel at 6 knots per hour. Now, with a speed of 7.5 knots per hour, our latest solar ferry Aditya will be the fastest in the category.
We have sent the details to Limca Book of Records,” said Sandith. NavAlt is focused on constructing boats and ferries that work on non-fossil fuel. Currently, several agencies in the country are in discussions with NavAlt for projects. “We built 20-seater solar boats for a Punjab-based company, and a ten-seater boat for a pan-Indian hotel chain. The main advantage of solar boats is that they cause minimal pollution, noise and vibration. Solar-powered ferries are more viable than those work on fossil fuel,” he added.