By The Nation
Somsak Hommuang, director general of the Habour Department, said the department has received Bt19.58 million from the Energy Ministry for electric passenger boats on the Saen Saeb Canal.
He said the department has selected Kasetsart University to study and build the model electric passenger boat.
In the first phase of the project from June to November, the university will design a model electric boat with 100 seats that will be able to travel at 15 to 20 kilometres per hour.
He said the boat will be made of aluminium and will be about 19 metres long and 4.24 metre wide with a battery that should allow it to operate for at least two-and-a-half hours. The boat will have one point for boarding at the centre of the craft. A power charging station will also be built at the Pratunam pier on the canal, he added.
Somsak said the construction and the model boat should be completed in November.
In the second phrase, the model boat will provide free shuttle trips from Pratunam to Phan Fah piers from December to January to study the viability of switching to electric boats.
If the study finds that it’s worthwhile to switch to electric boats, the department will propose to the operator of Saen Saeb boat services to stop using diesel boats and switch to electric boats to protect the environment and conserve energy, the department chief said.
He said it is expected that each electric boat would cost Bt15 million to build and the operator should break even in seven years. The department will also seek soft loans from the government for boat operators if they decide to switch to electric boats, Somsak added.