Kohala Blue, a boat tour operator in Kawaihae on the Big Island of Hawaii, has introduced what it calls the first renewable electric catamaran charter in Hawaii. The Dolce Vita is powered by an electric propulsion system that is charged by solar panels, wind turbines, and propeller regeneration.
Kohala Blue’s solar and wind-powered electric catamaran
When Kohala Blue’s 34-foot Gemini sailing charter broke down last year with a damaged diesel engine, the company was caught in a tight spot with few options.
Rather than trying to replace the parts, which would have been really costly, Kohala Blue’s owner, Shaun Barnes, made the decision to go electric.
Kohala Blue issued a news release last week, stating, “The company recently upgraded its 34-foot Gemini sailing catamaran with two electric propulsion motors, powered with sun and wind, that run silently and peacefully while underway.” The press release added:
What this means for passengers is a sailing experience like no other in the islands: no engine noise, vibration, air or water pollution and no fumes associated with gas or diesel power. Guests are confident their choice to snorkel, sail and observe marine life from the spacious decks of the Dolce Vita is the best for the marine environment.
The company says the conversion has completely transformed the experience for guests, creating a nearly silent, peaceful ride while minimizing the impact on marine animals.
In particular, electric propulsion has much less impact on whales than loud gas engines because they rely on ultrasonic hearing to navigate and find food.
The 34-foot Gemini 105MC sailing catamaran is Hawaii’s first renewable electric charter, according to Kohala Blue. Solar panels fitted on the dodger combined with wind turbines and propeller regeneration allow for a completely renewable energy-powered eco-friendly experience.
Barnes says she has noticed clear benefits from the electric conversion, telling West Hawaii Today:
The best part of it is the peace and quiet. When we’re moving, people can’t even tell whether we’re under motor or under sail. We have a hydrophone — an underwater microphone — and you can hear other boats coming from very far away.
She added that although the electric sailboat has roughly 19.8 hp, less than the 27 hp with the diesel engine, the electric engine’s instant torque offsets the speed reduction with a max speed under motor of about 6.5 knots.
Kohala Blue offers private charters for up to six guests with morning, afternoon, and sunset sails. You can book tours on the company’s website.
Kohala Blue is paving the way for an eco-friendly sailing experience with its new solar- and wind-powered electric-powered catamaran.
Nobody wants to travel on the water with a loud diesel engine blocking out all the sounds and smells of nature and, more importantly, destroying the environment and its inhabitants.
The company may need to start another business in converting sailboats to solar, wind, and electric power because these could revolutionize the charter industry while saving the oceans and the creatures living in them.
The first US-built offshore wind substation is sailing to New York
The first US-built offshore wind substation is complete and headed to South Fork Wind – a major milestone for the US offshore wind industry.
Offshore substations collect and stabilize power that the wind turbines generate, preparing it for transmission to shore. South Fork Wind’s 1,500-ton, 60-foot-tall substation was designed and engineered in Kansas, and built near Corpus Christi by Kiewit Offshore Services, the largest offshore fabricator in the US.
The first US-built offshore wind substation left Kiewit’s factory on a ship late last week. It’s going to cross the Gulf of Mexico and then sail up the East Coast for installation off Long Island in a few weeks.
David Hardy, group EVP and CEO Americas at Ørsted, said:
The completion of South Fork Wind’s offshore wind substation is yet another first for this groundbreaking project and moves us one step closer to the project’s first ‘steel in the water.’
South Fork, which is being jointly developed by Danish wind giant Ørsted and energy provider Eversource, is expected to be operational by 2023, when it will become the first completed utility-scale offshore wind farm in US federal waters.
Cable laying is currently under way, and the installation of monopile foundations will begin in coming weeks.
The 132 megawatt (MW), 12-turbine project will produce enough clean energy to power 70,000 homes in New York.
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Read more: The first US-built offshore wind service ship reaches a milestone
Quick Charge Podcast: May 29, 2023
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ZParq completes $2.7M seed round to bring ultracompact electric marine motors to market
Swedish marine propulsion startup ZParq announced it has successfully completed a seed round led by cleantech investors, totaling 2.5 million euros ($2.68M). With the fresh funding, ZParq looks to bring its compact electric marine motors, powertrains, and other adjacent technologies to market to help decarbonize the segment.
ZParq is a young startup founded in Sweden in 2020, which, according to the company, was founded to challenge the limits of marine propulsion by providing the most compact and scalable systems for propeller-driven watercraft. Furthermore, the startup is striving to deliver products that are designed to be sustainable over the entire value chain. Per the company site:
Our founding team covers the span of electromechanical design, hydrodynamics, electronics and product design. We’ve been developing our technology to fill the gap where compact submersible electric propulsion systems are needed for high performance applications.
As you’ll see below, ZParq has already developed and sleek and compact portfolio of marine technologies, including electric motors, battery packs, inverters, levers, and even a steering joystick. Early on, ZParq joined the portfolio of EIT InnoEnergy – the largest impact cleantech investor in Europe, who was the startup’s first institutional investor.
Now, EIT InnoEnergy, along with a couple of other capital venture funds, have opened up their checkbooks to help get ZParq’s electric marine motors out to market and beyond.
ZParq’s electric marine motors are sustainable end-to-end
The startup recently shared details of its successful seed round coled by Santander (via the Santander InnoEnergy Climate Fund) and Almi Invest GreenTech. EIT InnoEnergy also participated once again.
Each of these funds is focused around investments in early-stage companies developing new technologies to support a circular economy and combat climate change. Clearly, they see potential in ZParq – which is touting all-electric marine motors that are significantly smaller and more efficient compared to everything else on the current market.
ZParq states the motor’s light design reduces raw material and CO2 footprint by more than 50% in the production phase, and the circular design approach of its products helps reduce their environmental impact and climate footprint throughout their entire life cycle. ZParq CEO Jonas Genchel spoke to the successful seed round and the venture capitalists that have shown their support:
We are very happy to get Santander and Almi Invest GreenTech as new investors, they will provide us with the support required to finalize development of our first products and enable shipment to our customers already this year. Our scalable and modular technology has generated an overwhelming interest from boat manufacturers and ship builders globally, and we have customers within the complete range from small leisure boats to commercial vessels waiting for our powertrains. The company is currently in pilot phase with several OEMs and boat builders who are testing its 10kW and 50kW motors. It aims to have several units operating in water by this summer
It appears ZParq already has plenty of exciting electric marine technology in the works, including more powerful motors, so we will be sure to track its progress as these products approach market launch. A fresh 2.5 million euros should certainly help it continue to innovate and hopefully find success. More to come.
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