Solar-powered “dragonfly” boat developed by Australian company

Tonbo Panels Up

The Tonbo dragonfly solar-powered boat

Australia-based Solar Sailor Holdings is collaborating with Japan company Eco Marine Power to create a solar- and bio-fuel powered tour boat, that will be named the Tonbo, which means dragonfly in Japanese. The name refers to the boat’s unique pivoting solar panels that look somewhat like wings on top of the vessel. These wings can be pivoted to better collect the sun, or can be lowered for less windage or to clear low bridges. Eco Marine’s control system orients the panels to maximize the power production from the panels. Main power is supplied by lithium batteries that supply electric motors using a computer optimized system. Bio-fueled generators back up the solar system. Dr. Robert Dane, CEO of Solar Sailor, said on Web site Maritime Propulsion, “We are confident we can build everything up to ocean liners and in fifty years time people will look back at boats of the 20th Century and they’ll say – where are the wings?”

Categories: Ocean Voyaging