Solar Fishing Boats

[box]Introduction[/box]

Solar power can be used in the fishing boats to make it either completely powered by the sun (independent of any other energy sources) or partially powered by the sun. The former is easily achieved in case of small and medium sized boats and the latter in larger boats and in applications that need high power (like trawlers). In both the cases the partially powered implies that solar/electric power is used to propel the boat and not restricted to providing lighting.

[box]Small Boats[/box]

Fishing boats are of different types and sizes. When one attempts to make it completely independent of fossil fuels (petrol/diesel/gasoline), the viability of such a task depends on both the size (that determines the amount of panels that can be installed) as well as the engine (motor) power required. Even within the range of power and size there are further groups based on the type of motor installation – outboard or inboard. All the boats that do not have access to a jetty are typically hauled up ashore after every fishing expedition and in such boats inboard motors with fixed shaft and propeller is not suitable. Such boats has to be equipped with OBM (outboard motor). In other boats the inboard system is the choice.

Outboard Motor (OBM) System

As described above this system is applicable for boats that do not have access to jetty or for other specific reason. Although we work with various vendors for the electric OBM ranging from Flover (less than 1 kW), Torqeedo (2-8 kW and 55 kW), Aquawatt (8-22 kW) and other options depending on the power range. As far as fishing community is concerned, the optimum solution falls in the Torqeedo range of Cruise 4R (single or double translating to 4 kW or 8 kW).

The below table is created for the Pillanas (local name of fishing boat in Gujarat) from 32 to 40 ft that otherwise uses 8 HP to 15 HP Petrol OBM.

Boats Length (ft)
Solar Power (W)
Motor (W)
Battery (Wh)
Pillana 32-36 32-36 1,000 4,000 19,200
Pillana 36-40
36-40 1,500 8,000 19,200

The above system includes all the necessary safety equipment and installation like IP65 box for control unit, MPPT charge controllers, battery charging unit from AC power, DC breakers, junction box, cables, connectors, SUS 316 grade stainless steel structure, battery box etc. All the equipments – panels, controllers, and other connectors meet the IEC code requirements to enable availing MNRE subsidy from Government of India.

Inboard Motor (IBM) System

As described above this system is applicable for boats that have access to jetty or for other specific reason. Although we work with various vendors for the electric motors ranging from Agni (6-13 kW), Emerson (15-100 kW) and other options depending on the power range. We have come up with standard package for power ranges of 6.4 , 8.5 , 10.7 , and 12.8 kW.

The below table is created for the Pillanas (local name of fishing boat in Gujarat) from 36 to 48 ft that otherwise uses 15 HP to 20 HP Petrol OBM.

Boats Length (ft)
Solar Power (W)
Motor (W)
Battery (Wh)
Pillana 32-36 32-36 1,000 6,400 19,200
Pillana 36-40
36-40 1,500 8,500 19,200
Pillana 40-42
40-42 2,000 10,700 19,200
Pillana 42-46
42-46 2,500 12,800 19,200
Pillana 46-48
46-48 3,000 12,800 19,200

The above system includes all the necessary safety equipment and installation like IP65 box for control unit, MPPT charge controllers, battery charging unit from AC power, DC breakers, junction box, cables, connectors, SUS 316 grade stainless steel structure, battery box etc. All the equipments – panels, controllers, and other connectors meet the IEC code requirements to enable availing MNRE subsidy from Government of India.

[box]Large Boats[/box]

Large boats are over 45 ft long and can only be partially powered by the sun because of area constraint (on number of panels that can be installed) and more importantly the cost of installation. The solution for such boat are hybrid propulsion. Currently we offer parallel hybrid mode where the system has independent propellers driven by electric motors on either side of the main internal combustion (IC) engine driven propeller.

The motor power is selected to ensure that sufficient power for normal operation can be supplied. High power mode like trawling cannot be served. In such mode when IC engine is running the wake flow can drive the electric motors and act as generator to charge the batteries. In addition the power take off unit (PTO) fitted to the main IC engine  will also charge the batteries.

For the kind of fishing vessels in Gujarat as example we offer standard package for the solar power system. The below table is created for Betadas (large fishing boats) with sizes ranging from 45 to 55 ft that otherwise use 20 to 80 HP diesel engines.

Boats Length (ft)
Solar Power (W)
Motor (W)
Battery (Wh)
Betada 45-50 45-50 6,000 12,800 28,800
Betada 45-50
45-50 8,000 17,000 38,400
Betada 52
52 8,000 40,000 96,000
Betada 50-52
50-52 12,000 21,400 76,800
Betada 55
55 13,000 21,400 96,000

The above system includes all the necessary safety equipment and installation like IP65 box for control unit, MPPT charge controllers, battery charging unit from AC power, DC breakers, junction box, cables, connectors, SUS 316 grade stainless steel structure, battery box etc. All the equipments – panels, controllers, and other connectors meet the IEC code requirements to enable availing MNRE subsidy from Government of India.

[box]Vessel List[/box]

1. 32 ft Pillana with OBM

Check out the case study here: http://www.navgathi.com/001-solar-fishing-boat/

Media coverage:

(i) Hindustan Times – Jan 14th 2013 (Ahmedabad)

(ii) Hindu Business Line – Jan 14th 2013 (Ahmedabad)

(iii) Desabhimani – Jan 14th 2013 (Kerala)

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