With traffic taking its toll on roads in the growing Chinese economy, the government and people are seriously considering making use of the country’s rivers and waterways as alternative means for commuting. A step in that direction is this ferry that will be built by BMT Nigel Gee, based in Southampton, UK. The company won the contract to build 150 of these ferries, the first of which will start plying on rivers in 2012.
Sized at 85 feet long and 28 feet wide, the boats will be powered by Vanadium Redox Battery (VRB) which will be able to propel it to a speed of about 10 knots, and will be recharged by an array of solar cells placed atop the ferry. To put it simply, the ferry could be recharged while in use, and also while it waits for passengers at the dock.
An additional advantage of the battery is that it can be recharged simply by changing the electrolyte, which will help in keeping it useful in days when there is no sun and considerably reduce the need for the ferry to look at non-electric alternatives.