Recently, we reported on a solar-powered family pleasure boat making some waves. Now, we’re pleased to see that The Hong Kong Jockey Club is getting onboard with solar sailing with the addition of a number of solar-powered hybrid catamarans that will run ferry service from the Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Public Golf Course (KSC) in Sai Kung to Hong Kong, as part of an overall environmental initiative that includes a conversion to all-solar electric golf-carts.
The catamarans–manufactured in part by Solar Sailor Holdings, an Australian company which recently won the ”Environmental Technology of the Year Award” in London’s Sustainable Shipping Awards–feature both solar-powered electrical engines and diesel-powered engines, which can operate in parallel when cruising. While approaching piers or embarking and disembarking passengers, only the electric motors will be used, keeping noise and emissions to a minimum; the boats also offer a quieter experience for those at sea, as the engine room is located away from the passenger compartment.
This represents a smart economic as well as environmental decision for the The Hong Kong Jockey Club, as the solar-hybrid catamarans are expected to save up to 50% in fuel consumption and about HK$2.5 million a year in operating costs compared with the existing ferries. The Club’s new solar golf-carts, likewise, are expected to result in a significant reduction of at least 30% in electricity consumption as well as in a savings of approximately HK$400,000 in operating and replacement costs per year.