One huge opportunity that Damian has recently identified is genuine, fully-fledged ecotourism, delivered by the latest-technology: a fully electrically powered catamaran.
The SoelCat (pronounced “Soul Cat”) is best described as “an autonomous solar electric catamaran for coastal water, lagoon and inter-island transportation, specifically developed for the fast-growing ecotourism market.”
“It is great to see a lot of green initiatives at resorts these days, however, water bound transport always seems to be neglected,” explained Joep Koster, designer and naval architect at Soel Yachts.
“The SoelCat 12 offers a 100% sustainable alternative to conventionally powered boats used in the industry, so far. Taking your guests on a lagoon tour without the noise and smell of combustions engines opens up unique PR values for the industry, given that the people will experience the sustainable technology hands on. Furthermore, the boat can offer surplus solar energy to the resort when the SoelCat 12 is moored.”
Damian wholeheartedly agrees: “This boat is perfect for Phuket and conducting tours to pristine sites in the area. As a starter, it would be perfect for places like Laguna, where guests are transported across the lakes by boat. The SoelCat is entirely eco-friendly; there would be no pollution whatsoever, not even noise pollution as the SoelCat runs silently.
“It would also introduce Phuket to the European standard where no petrol or diesel-powered boats are allowed on any lakes or waterways. That is a great selling point for any business that uses this boat for its tours,” he added.
Beyond the lakes, however, the SoelCat has phenomenal performance and design specs for providing outstanding day tours.
The SoelCat can accommodate 24 passengers and 2 crew, but the standard two-bench interior can be reconfigured to best suit each tour. There is ample luggage space in the bulwarks near the seats and wet storage compartments at the bathing area to the aft, near the stainless-steel ladder for dive tours.
With an installed battery capacity of 2 x 60kWh – the SoelCat12 can sustain a maximum speed of 15 knots for one hour in case of emergencies and the vessel’s standard operational profile is set to cruising speed of 8kts with a range of six hours on battery power only.
But once the sun starts to shine and power generation of the large 8.6kWp rooftop solar array commences, the 8kts cruising speed is extended to 7.5 hours. Lowering the speed to the so-called “break-even point” results in a 24-hour range of 6.5kts – and that includes right through the night – giving a full range of 150nm.
The SoelCat 12 benefits from Naval DC’s nine years electric propulsion experience in harsh environments. “Our integrated electric propulsion systems have logged more than 350,000 blue water nautical miles in the Pacific, so far,” says David Czap from Naval DC.
“Lightness is key to the vessel’s performance: Our marine grade lithium polymer battery systems weigh in at just 8kg per kWh and we can remotely monitor all electric propulsion system vitals worldwide via our Naval UI alarm & monitoring system,” he adds.
Getting the SoelCat to Phuket presents no problem. The boat has been designed to be demountable and fits into two 40ft high cube containers. Hence, the vessel can easily be transported at affordable rates to remote areas or islands all over the world. Neither lamination processes, nor specialized tools are required for the SoelCat 12’s assembly on location, adds Naval DC in its description.
SoelCat aside, Electrical Marine offers a host of other marine – and household – electrical products and services, and is already the leading supplier and service agent in Southeast Asia. Fully equipped and trained for warranty and service work on all major marine brands, the team offer service from a single instrument check to a complete electrical and navigation refit, and electrical surveys by an English-trained electrical engineer.
The latest in marine equipment, both commercial and recreational, navigational aids and chandlery supplies are all available, as are the latest touchscreen chartplotters, radar, echo sounders and the latest all-in-one Simrad units and a full range of electronic charts from C-MAP and Navionics, with warranty work and service for all major marine brands.
Custom built as a marine-service facility, Electrical Marine’s workshop is an extremely clean, secure and spacious facility. Electrical Marine Co Ltd is currently the only centre in Southeast Asia with testing equipment for Simrad and B&G products, Mastervolt digital switch and C Zone.
For more information, see the Electrical Marine display at the Phuket International Boat Show, open from January 7-10, visit PhuketBoatShow.com.Electrical Marine has Chinese speakers available.
The Phuket International Boat Show, better known as PIMEX, is proudly sponsored by The Phuket News, Live89.5, Phuket News TV, Novosti Phuketa and Puji Dao Xin Wen, bringing you the best selection of news, lifestyle and sports stories in English, Russian and Chinese.