One of the coolest sights in the Sydney Harbour (aside from the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and the Pirate Ship) is the fully solar-powered ferry known as The Solar Sailor. This rather unique boat, designed by Robert Dane, uses both solar power and wind to reduce its emissions by half compared to standard ferries. What better way to travel?
The super green ferry uses a rather innovative flexible wing sail covered in solar panels, a design inspired by the evolution of insects. The steel and plastic structure is thus able to use solar and wind power to move, weather permitting. The wings move automatically, tracking the sun for optimal solar collection and the wind for optimal sail power. In extreme wind situations, they fold down against boat. When there is not enough sun or wind, the boat is powered by regular fuel and even biodiesel. The first boat, which was capable of moving 100 persons, began operation more than 5 years ago during the Sydney Olympics.
We have in fact already talked about this boat a few months ago, when we casually mentioned that one of the tourist ferries would in fact be a solar ferry created by this company. More recently, the company has been looking at providing solar powered boats to the Sydney transport authority for use in the public ferry transport system. And even more interestingly, those who go visit the Statue of Liberty, might just be traveling on a similar solar boat in the near future.