Boating can be intrusive to aquatic ecosystems and increase carbon emissions through pollution from engine emissions, lubricants and accidental discharges. This is why SGP Turkey decided to support TEMEV (Clean Energy Foundation) to develop a solar powered boat specifically for lakes under pressure from recreational activities. Modeled after the MS Turanor PlanetSolar (http://dailym.ai/U7E3QR), it is emissions and noise free, better to maneuver, and offers an attractive choice for alternative water transport. The "Güneşli Bot" or "Sun Boat" was completed in early spring and was recently launched at Lake Eymir near Ankara. SGP National Coordinator Ms. Gökmen Argun, TEMEV's founder Mr. Demir İnan and Mr. Engin Kiran joined the ride which was also documented by the Anadolu Ajansı/Anadolu Agency for a news broadcast.
The solar-powered "Sun Boat", which can accommodate 4 persons, was originally developed for the Lake Mogan area, a breeding place for globally threatened birds near Ankara. Photovoltaic cells drive its two electric motors, - a new generation of highly efficient, brushless out-runner motors. Unlike other solar powered boats, the sun boat does not require any supporting equipment such as chargers or conventional motors. Only a small battery and two oars are added to bridge energy needs for 2+ hours under cloudy conditions. With an estimated speed of 10-12 knots (18-22 km/h), the boat is sufficient to cover small lake areas. Requiring no oil, fuel, gas or monthly maintenance, it is also a more sustainable than internal combustion engine boats. In fact, production costs are amortized within the first 12-18 months, based on a 5 year usage period. With governmental subsidies, cost can further be reduced by 20%.
With an open floor design to glide over water more easily, the Sun Boat operates quietly and has no under-water exhaust outlet. Its custom-tailored propellers were specifically designed for electric motors and low cavity features. The Sun Boat thus eliminates another source of pollution and noise, which often disturb lake ecosystems. Beyond recreational use, the Sun Boat can be an attractive choice for aquatic researchers as it allows them to approach their subjects quietly and position themselves more precisely over research points. Precise maneuvering is facilitated by the two motors that can be controlled independently. The boat has also been equipped with an underwater camera, a cold light source and an LCD monitor which are likewise powered by solar energy. These features will be put to good use by the Middle East Technical University which will use the boat for water biology research in its recreational area at Lake Eymir.
This initiative forms an addition to SGP Turkey's rich portfolio in promoting transition to low-carbon, sustainable transportation. It is also a great example of how SGP provides seed funding and promotes innovation for environmental conservation and research. The boat was produced with an SGP grant of USD $20,000 and USD $ 18,900 in co-financing.
It is hoped that the boat can serve as a model for disseminating the use of solar photovoltaic energy in marine applications. A small booklet has been prepared for various local authorities, universities, and other recreational areas. The grantee has been successfully advocating for the Sun Boat, promoting it as a safer, cleaner and less expensive transportation choice that is also less intrusive to lake ecosystems. Another SGP project "Halfeti Ecotourism" is interested in adopting the SunBoat and the boat has already received invitations from exhibitions such as the International Boat Show at İzmir.