Innovation That Matters

Croatia is home to some of Europe's most beautiful waterways | Photo source Tom Weatley on Unsplash

A solar-powered tourist catamaran

Travel & Tourism

In addition to running on clean energy, the catamaran causes no engine noise or vibration

Spotted: Rivers are some of the most idyllic, and valuable, natural environments on earth, and this beauty naturally attracts the attention of tourists. While river tourism bolsters local economies and creates an incentive to preserve natural waterways, traditional fossil fuel tourist vessels create emissions of carbon dioxide and air pollutants. Moreover, gas or oil leaks from motorboats and sailboats with engines can contaminate water. And from the tourists’ own point of view, the peace and tranquillity of a river scene is often soured by the noise and vibrations of a chugging engine. But what if there was a way to address these problems?

Croatia has some of the most beautiful rivers and lakes in Europe, and Croatian startup iCat has developed a solar-powered passenger catamaran that enables tourists, and others, to enjoy the scenery in a more sustainable way. The 15-metre, 54-passenger vessel—called the solarCat—comes with an integrated solar power station that allows it to run on its own self-generated energy. Not only does this lead to zero emissions, it also significantly reduces the amount of noise the catamaran generates. In fact, iCat claims that “the only noise and vibrations will come from the wind and waves.”

The vessel’s modular deck can be adapted to various needs in just 30 minutes – from educational events, concerts, and VIP parties to simple passenger transport. The catamaran’s wheelhouse is also made of glass and is situated to the right side of the bow. According to the company this creates “a sense of transparency, thus eliminating visual barriers for the passengers.”

The solarCat was first presented on Zagreb’s Lake Jarun two years ago and is already in use in Croatia for tourism purposes.

Springwise has previously spotted several sustainable boating innovations, including an electric boat powered by a single battery, and a Seine riverboat powered by old EV batteries.

Written By: Matthew Hempstead



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