A purely solar-powered zero emissions electric ferry with deployable and retractable pneumatic wings—that’s ECOCAT and it took Seawork’s Maritime Sustainability Award.
An 18 m-long, 8 m-wide, 120-passenger aluminum catamaran built by Metaltec Naval in Cantabria, Spain, ECOCAT has an integrated propulsion system from Torqeedo of Starnberg, Germany, relying 100% on its solar-battery system with no auxiliary internal combustion engine.
“It has two 50 kW Torqeedo Deep Blue motors driven by eight 30.5 kWh BMW i3 high-voltage marinized lithium ion batteries, four in each hull,” a Torqeedo spokeswoman told NauticExpo e-magazine. “Power is generated by 120 photovoltaic solar panels on the vessel’s roof. To maximize that area, Metaltec designed a set of deployable and retractable pneumatic wings.”
“Top speed is 9.7 knots—normal operating speed is 7 knots—and the vessel’s cruising range is eight hours running on batteries without sunshine. ECOCAT will go into service on Spain’s Mediterranean coast and the operator expects to average six 13 km trips daily.”
“ECOCAT’s power system provides significantly lower operating costs over internal combustion engines,” she concluded, “with zero fuel costs, lower maintenance and a long battery life.”
The vessel is the first of Metaltec’s new ECOBOAT series of environment-friendly aluminium vessels. The company also has designs for a monohull solar-electric boat as well as a twin-hull hybrid vessel.