Green Boating

This week, craft of all sizes are looking to go green.

The above picture has nothing to do with this weeks newsletter other than that it is a green boat.

In this week's Potential Difference Newsletter, it’s good to see that waterways craft and more sizable craft are also looking to lower their carbon footprints. It is also good to see the DoT getting involved in this, but it’s a shame that it comes in the same week the government announces it has given the go-ahead for more drilling in the North Sea.

Shipping: The Department for Transport said its fund could lead to hydrogen-powered boats and electric charge points at ports across the UK. Unusually this was reported in the Express & Star local newspaper, amongst others.

Wireless charging: Yes, as unlikely as it seems, a company in Cornwall is researching the possibility of charging boats using VHF technology. Perpetual Research Consultancy of St Austel is looking to develop a charging system for electric vessels, as reported on In Your Area. Admittedly this is aimed at coastal applications, but it will be interesting to see where this leads.

WidebeamsThames Solar Electric have announced that they have built a100% electric-powered wide beam. The craft is powered “purely by the sun, and the batteries charge up even on an overcast day”. 20kW twin electric motors with a 96kW battery are said to provide peaceful cruising with (as you might expect) no diesel emissions. In addition, the interior has been partly fitted with reclaimed materials. As a sailaway, it only requires a minimal fit-out but already boasts extras such as a heat recovery ventilation system, water harvesting and a composting toilet.

It would seem this isn’t the only boat being built to this specification by Thames Solar Electric, and we hope to feature this in a future issue.

Waterways: The IWA [Inland Waterways Association] have posted an interesting 10-minute video Q&A on their YouTube Channel entitled ‘Green Boating”. The Q&A session features a number of experts who some basic questions related to the issues of different fuels and means of propulsion that would help you become more environmentally friendly on the waterways. The session highlights the various different approaches that can be made to this problem. It also seemed evident that some of the speakers had quite differing opinions as to which way the matter could be resolved.

The accompanying guide can be downloaded from

Although the focus of Potential Difference is the UK's waterways, it is interesting to see developments in the waterways in other parts of the world. For example, Tech Digest has reported on a new passenger ferry that will be seen on Stockholm’s waterways in 2022. This very futuristic craft will ride on hydrofoils which, it is reported, will reduce energy consumption by 80%.