Whether it’s a cell phone or a car, if it needs power, it’s likely you’ll see solar energy playing a role soon – the power of the sun is increasingly being harnessed in all sorts of ways.
Alcatraz Cruises in the USA has introduced the Hornblower Hybrid, the first multi-hulled hybrid passenger vessel in the country.
The Hornblower Hybrid uses power generated by two 3 metre 1.2 kilowatt wind turbines and a 1.2 kilowatt solar panel array situated on the awning on the top deck. The electricity generated from these units is stored in battery banks that then power the navigation tools, lighting and other electronics on board the vessel. Any surplus electricity is stored in the main propulsion 380 volt deep cycle battery banks.
The Hornblower Hybrid also has fuel-efficient Tier 2 marine diesel engines, reducing the amount of diesel fuel consumed, lowering emissions and overall carbon footprint. The engines power two Marathon 320 KW generators that in turn power two 400 HP electric motors connected directly to conventional propellers.
The captain of the vessel is able to monitor the ship’s energy needs and select the most efficient power sources. For example, when the boat is idle at the dock the engines can be shut down and the motors will continue to run off of energy stored in the battery banks.
The green credentials of the 19.5 meter vessel go beyond its power sources. Carpeting contains post consumer recycled materials and can itself be recycled. Countertops in the vessel are made from pieces of recycled vodka bottles and energy efficient LED lighting is used throughout.