An innovative method to reduce the carbon footprint and the life-cycle cost of boats used for anything from fishing to tourism purposes, by retrofitting them with electric modular kits, was launched here on Thursday.
The indigenously developed technology christened E-Marine and readied with technical tie ups with prominent original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) will be a big leap for the fisheries and tourism sectors that have been the worst hit due to increasing operational cost and pollution, by helping replace fossil fuels, mainly diesel, that are polluting and whose price has been spiralling, said George Mathew, CEO and co-founder of Kochi-based Yesen Sustain which developed the technology, while addressing mediapersons at the venue.
There is a big drive across industries towards electric vehicles (Evs), considering their much lower operational cost and lesser carbon footprint. But a new EV often leaves a bigger carbon footprint than one which ran on fossil fuels. This is because it is not always advisable to replace existing vessels before their normal lifecycle. This creates more emissions by scrapping/disposing them and for the resources to build new ones. On the contrary, pre-engineered electrification and solarisation kits, which can be retrofitted in boats, in the same way people retrofit gas and CNG kits in petrol and diesel vehicles, is a cost-effective option, since the average break even period is just about three years, Mr. Mathew said.
To a question on how the technology will be popularised among members of the fishing community, he said tie-ups are on the anvil with financial institutions to help them avail loan. “We need to convince them that the lifecycle cost of a vessel retrofitted with electric modular kits would be one fifth that of a conventional one. Similarly, demand is increasing among tourists for such eco-friendly houseboats and other tourist vessels. Hybrid options too are available for those keen on saving space that would have to be earmarked for battery packs.”
He added that retrofitting of outboard engines can be done in about two hours and inboard engines in about a week. A conventional fishing boat retrofitted with the kit can save as much as ₹2,500 per day on operational expense alone. The kits that are apt for vessels having 1 hp to 2,000 hp come with liquid-cooled marine battery packs, to meet the harsh environmental and operating conditions in India. The company has tied up shipyard partners, including in Kochi, he said.
The launch event also witnessed operational display of a range of boats fitted or retrofitted with the new kits, including those built for PSUs.