KOCHI: In a proud moment for Kerala, 'Aditya', India’s first solar-powered ferry which commenced operations three years ago in Vembanad backwaters, has won the prestigious Gustave Trouve Award for Excellence in Electric Boats and Boating.
"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, she makes 22 trips with 75 people on board – that’s 5,80,000 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," reads the citation.
Aditya won the award, instituted in memory of French electrical engineer and pioneer in electric cars and boats Gustave Trouvé, after besting five other finalists from European countries in the public transport category.
"It is a proud moment for the state. Aditya was the only ferry from Asia among the 12 vessels from across the globe shortlisted for the award. It entered the finals with five other contestants in the first week of July through public voting. We are thankful to the state government for giving us the opportunity to build Aditya. We are also in the process of making five more Adityas, which will be handed over to the government by the end of this year," said Sandith Thandasherry, Founder CEO, NavAlt Solar and Electric Boats.
The ferry operates service between Thavanakadavu in Alappuzha and Vaikom in Kottayam district. 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.
The ferry was designed by Navalt team. Department of Ship Technology, Cochin University of Science and Technology was part of the technical committee that did a feasibility study and approved the project at various stages during design and construction.
Meanwhile, Aditya's achievement has created a positive sentiment, giving a leg up to startup companies. "A proud moment for the Kerala startup ecosystem as the Aditya Solar Ferry has won the First 'Gussies' electric boat awards, the world's only international award exclusively for electric boats," tweeted Kerala Startup Mission.