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AfricaMoney | October 19, 2017

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Mauritius launches E-boats under Project Zereau to protect the environment

Mauritius launches E-boats under Project Zereau to protect the environment

Mauritius has launched E-Boats, essentially electric boats, that are powered by energy partly generated by photovoltaic panels, to ensure a greener island as well as guarantee cost effectiveness for boat operators, while passengers are also warranted a better experience with less vibration and noise.

To encourage Mauritian boat manufacturers and operators to opt for an electric boat fed by batteries and photovoltaic energy is the joint objective of Gerard Rugbur of Powernics Enterprise Ltd, Xavier Lopez of deICD Ltd and Elérig Escallot, technical expert at Project Zereau.

The three promoters presented their ecological project “Project Zereau” on 24 July 2015 to give a new breath of life to this sector by converting the existing boats into E-boats.

“Through Project Zereau, we wish to help protect our marine environment. Furthermore, the country has set the objective of reaching the 35% threshold for renewable energy before 2025 and we want to make our contribution towards attaining this goal. It took us three months to get this project running and our first e-boat has an engine of 25 KW (equivalent to 80 HP). We are satisfied with the end product and it had a successful trial at sea,”notes Xavier Lopez.

Elérig Escallot, technical expert in-charge of Project Zereau, explains that it is an ecological project which promises a return on investment in the medium term itself because the energy is partially generated by photovoltaic panels.

“For the technology powering the E-boat, we use an outboard motor, second-hand or new, without its heat engine. Afterwards, we select and install a battery, made of lead or lithium, and a charger adapted to the boat and to its use. The battery pack is powered by electricity and photovoltaic panels but we can also install a wind system depending on customer requirements. The batterypack is then connected to the engine,” he stated.

Project Zereau offers several advantages, such as lesser vibrations for passengers, lower negative impact on the environment, reduced operating costs, and easier boat maneuverability, among others.

“I embarked on this adventure because I am a marine life enthusiast. Nature has left us a beautiful inheritance and I realised that it was necessary to find solutions to protect our natural resources. As regards this project, the installation of batteries and photovoltaic panels does require sizeable investment, but in one year, the user will note a reduction in his routine and recurring expenses. For example, there is no need to buy fuel or incur recurring maintenance cost,” he highlights.

Additionally, it may be noted that the E-boat has been launched together with two-wheelers offering ecological solutions, in particular, bicycles and electric motorcycles of Brand Zereau.

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