Bumpers for cars are common. Have you heard of bumpers for boats?.Yes, a solar powered bumper for boats is one of the innovative solar products,engineered by Trivandrum Global City of Innovation’s (TGCi), a charitable trust of Kanthari International,headed by technical director Mr.Shyam.
The project conceptualized at Kanthari International campus in Thiruvananthapuram, was funded by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE). The boat was assembled at the College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram.
The boat is 6 ft in diameter and 2 ft high. It has a D-shaped rubber fender for cushioning effect. The solar panel mounted on the boat supplies energy to run a 250 watt DC motor to propel the boat. It can last up to 15 years and also acts as a sunshade. The boat is manoeuvred with the help of a rudder and a switch.
“The boat does not have a throttle or variable speed, so the passenger has to turn off the switch just before bumping in to the other boat. The handle can manoeuvre the boat 45 degrees to the right and left and the motor propels it to 10 km per hour on water. I was inspired by bumping cars in amusement parks and wanted to create a zero-pollution boat which can be as much fun,” said Kumar.
The fibre reinforced plastic from which the boat is moulded is durable and unsinkable. The solar bumper boat took a few years to make and was developed at a cost of Rs 3.5 lakh. Shyam Kumar is currently working on a solar house-boat design and looking for funding so that he can start work.