July 29 (The Sun-Herald) – SYDNEY Ferries is looking at solar-powered vessels in the upgrade of its ageing fleet.
Dr Robert Dane, chief executive of Chatswood-based Solar Sailor, said he had met with Sydney Ferries CEO Geoff Smith and successfully trialled a vessel on the Parramatta River route.
Solar Sailor, which is chaired by former prime minister Bob Hawke, said its hybrid powered vessels can almost halve the environmental impact of noise, vibrations and fumes.
Preliminary scheduling work had begun within Sydney Ferries using a hybrid power vessel designed by Solar Sailor, but the March Sydney ferry accident, which resulted in four deaths, had put that on hold, Mr Dane said.
One of the vessels, the Solar Coast Cat, was long, sleek, had a 200-250 capacity and was capable of servicing the inner harbour routes. The Double Ender, a 1000-capacity hybrid electric vessel, would be ideal for the Manly-Circular Quay run, he said.