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Development and evaluation of solar powered catamaran for sustainable tourism in southeast of the gulf of Thailand

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The aim of this research is to develop and evaluate the solar powered catamaran for a response to low carbon destination and sustainable tourism for Ko Mak Island, Thailand. The development process includes ship design, PV system design and shipbuilding. Thus, it has designed that are the length with 7.5 Meters and the width with 3.5 meters. Similarly, it has installed 1.8 kWp photovoltaic generation system and 2 units of 3-hp induction motors. The performance evaluations have been accomplished in the open water in the designated route. The result showed that the uppermost speed of the catamaran was 9.18 km/h at 4,500 W. At normal cruise speed of 2,000 W, the catamaran speed was 7.77 km/h and maximum travel distance without charging at depth of discharge equally to 0.6 is 41.96 km. Therefore, the catamaran cruise distance would cover any common travel route of Ko Mak Island. Furthermore, the 19-km extended travel route has been guided for the boat cruise and monitoring. The cruise has been performed in calm weather condition, which insolation of the cruise was 27.18 kWh. The PV system could generate electricity equally to 4.1 kWh or with efficiency of 15.08 percent. However the total consumption was 5.7 kWh. The average cruise speed was 6.26 km/h and the average motors consumption was 1,889.37 W. Finally it turned out that the boat has good maneuver response and good throttle response, passengers can walk to several parts for doing activities conveniently.
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INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL of RENEWABLE ENERGY RESEARCH
G. Panprayun and S. Pitaksintorn, Vol.8, No.2, June, 2018
Development and Evaluation of Solar Powered
Catamaran for Sustainable Tourism in
Southeast of the Gulf of Thailand
Gunn Panprayun*, Suwan Pitaksintorn**
* Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies, Mahidol University, Nakhon Pathom 73170, Thailand
** Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation,
Ministry of National Resources and Environment, Bangkok 10900, Thailand
(gunn.pan@mahidol.edu, suwanpita@hotmail.com)
Corresponding Author; Gunn Panprayun, 999 Mahidol University, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, 73170,
Tel: +66 2 441 5000, Fax: +66 2 441 9509, gunn.pan@mahidol.edu
Received: 03.09.2017 Accepted:12.12.2017
Abstract- The aim of this research is to develop and evaluate the solar powered catamaran for a response to low carbon
destination and sustainable tourism for Ko Mak Island, Thailand. The development process includes ship design, PV system
design and shipbuilding. Thus, it has designed that are the length with 7.5 Meters and the width with 3.5 meters. Similarly, it has
installed 1.8 kWp photovoltaic generation system and 2 units of 3-hp induction motors. The performance evaluations have been
accomplished in the open water in the designated route. The result showed that the uppermost speed of the catamaran was 9.18
km/h at 4,500 W. At normal cruise speed of 2,000 W, the catamaran speed was 7.77 km/h and maximum travel distance without
charging at depth of discharge equally to 0.6 is 41.96 km. Therefore, the catamaran cruise distance would cover any common
travel route of Ko Mak Island. Furthermore, the 19-km extended travel route has been guided for the boat cruise and monitoring.
The cruise has been performed in calm weather condition, which insolation of the cruise was 27.18 kWh. The PV system could
generate electricity equally to 4.1 kWh or with efficiency of 15.08 percent. However the total consumption was 5.7 kWh. The
average cruise speed was 6.26 km/h and the average motors consumption was 1,889.37 W. Finally it turned out that the boat has
good maneuver response and good throttle response, passengers can walk to several parts for doing activities conveniently.
Keywords solar powered, solar boat, photovoltaic boat, electric boat.
1. Introduction
Many marine coastal areas around the world are facing the
growth of tourism pressure, especially cruising along coral
reef areas. Almost of boats related in the seaside tourism are
fuel and oil based vehicles, which internal combustion engine
is main compartment. These boats cause much oil
contamination into the sea. Apart from the oil strain and soot
affecting to the coral reef in the direct way, it makes the sound,
vibration, smoke to annoy the tourists as well as releasing
carbon to the atmosphere. These released carbon is one of the
reasons causes the global warming [1]. Moreover, boat noise
is an important source of marine pollution that can mask biotic
sounds, disrupting the successful transmission between caller
and receiver, and can cause physical, physiological and
behavioral changes in some marine species [2]. Thus, the
using of EV boat replacing for the internal combustion boat is
another friendly opportunity to the environments for applying
the electric motor work with energy effectiveness in most
ways with 85.5-96.2 percentage [3]. Consequently, there are
several electric motors in tourist destination areas of
naturalistic interest, especially in the lakes which cause to the
zero exhaust while, the sound and the vibration as the lower
level than in the internal combustion engine [4, 5].
In addition, the environmental problem related to tourism
in previous paragraph occurs in Ko Mak, which is an island
located in Trat province, Thailand. Ko Mak is well known as
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G. Panprayun and S. Pitaksintorn, Vol.8, No.2, June, 2018
1125
its clear water, white sand beach, beautiful coral reef, and
plentiful of marine life, even rare species such as dugongs are
encountered by villagers. On the other hand, there is a barrier
to apply EV boat to the area since electricity on the island is
limited by diesel engine generation. So, solar powered
generation boat is proposed. Likewise, the performance of a
solar powered boat in marine water for tourism is a question.
So, this paper wants to represent solar powered boat
development for Ko Mak tourism and evaluation of its
performance in the open water.
2. Study Area
Ko Mak island was selected as the study area. Moreover,
is the large island located between the Ko Chang Island and
the Ko Kood Island with the distances from the coast
approximately 38 km. It has the accommodations for the
tourists as one of all large-scale islands in Trat province
following by Ko Chang Island and Ko Kood Island. Besides,
its shape looks like the four point stars, and most area is the
plain with coconut garden. Fortunately, the natural condition
is still quite abundant with beautiful beach line, peaceful
atmosphere and simple and friendly lifestyle of people in the
islands including of not far away of the bend of the bay and
the streets on the island around 27 km. As the result, the
tourists could travel conveniently. Additionally, the tourist
season begins from October to May. The study route is from
Ko Mak to Ko Kradat, the most popular tourism route. The
map of Ko Mak is shown as the figure 1.
Fig. 1. Ko Mak map
3. Ship Development
3.1 Ship design
The modern concepts in ship design which based on
efficiency and economic [6] has been selected as a major
principle for the ship development process. The first step of
the ship design spiral is to clarify mission requirements, which
have been collected from the previous study [7]. Therefore the
previous study based on tourists and entrepreneur
expectations, which could be concluded as following: tourist
expectations 1) privacy cruise for 4-7 persons without
exceeding to 10 persons 2) environmental friendly atmosphere
3) safety for cruise, especially for children fall off 4) speed
was insignificant for western travelers; entrepreneur
expectations 1) charter boat fits for 6-10 persons 2) area for
activities includes sun bathing, fishing, diving deck 3) Latest
ship design with modern style 4) Recommended speed was
about 10 km/h 5) a single trip should finished in 30-45 minutes
6) safety for cruise and passengers includes good drainage,
non-slip surface, curved decoration 7) budget for a recent boat
should be less than 400,000 Baht or 12 thousands USD (33.33
Baht per 1 USD) 8) easy to maintain for local mechanics.
According to the expectation from the tourists and the
entrepreneur opinions as the above information, this project
has made a conclusion that the ship type should be a catamaran
because it has the specialty with two bilges to be assembled in
the parallel way. Then, in overall the catamaran has much
wideness with good stabilization not the same as the ship with
only one bilge. Thus, it is fitted in the tourists who satisfied
with the safe ship. Similarly, the installing of heavy and large
solar cell on the roof of catamaran and the slender bilge have
the good advantages with the non-resistance of water and the
strong effectiveness on using of drive power. In addition, it
has designed for the driving unit by placing the motors at the
center of the ship. Besides, the power will be sent through the
driveshaft and the propellers at the tail of the catamaran in the
similar form of the long tail boat. However, it has the good
advantage with the easy maintenance managed by the local
mechanics. On the other hand, it has the disadvantages with
the lower power transmission basing on the increased angle of
driveshaft. The ship design point out the main compartments
and their bilges in cross section are shown in the figure 2.
Fig. 2. Ship design and cross section
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G. Panprayun and S. Pitaksintorn, Vol.8, No.2, June, 2018
1126
The ship design has been simulated at speed of -3 m/s.
The result shows no severed drag as the show in the figure 3.
While the thrust required for cruising speed of 10 km/h is 0.76
kN which equal to 2.15 kW. However, the project considered
to double motor power to 4.3 kW due to driveshaft angle loses
compensation. So, double 3-hp motors which equal to 4,476
W have been selected.
Fig. 3. Ship simulation with current speeds of -3 m/s
3.2 Photovoltaic system
Since 4.3 kW is load demand for desired cruising speed
and cruising length is 2 hours, so the total energy require for a
single trip is 8.6 kWh. The battery capacity is equal to energy
demand divide by battery voltage, depth of discharge, and
battery charging efficiency, which is 48 V, 0.6, and 0.9 in the
order. So, the required capacity of the ship is 331.79 Ah. In
this case, 125 Ah, 12 V deep cycle batteries is selected and
apply twelve batteries by connect to four serial circuits and
three series of parallel circuits. The installed capacity is up to
375 Ah. Thus, they have been installed at the bilge with the
waterproof cover on the battery storage including of the vents
to protect from the contamination of gas inside the bilge.
For PV design, the area irradiation from NASA Surface
Meteorology and Solar Energy data set at the latitude position
of 11.820 N and the longitude position of 102.484 E has been
considered. It was found that since October to May it is in the
high season of traveling with having a calm wave as the
averages of solar irradiance similarly to 5.519 kWh/m2.d, it
should specify for the efficiency of polycrystalline panel with
equally to 0.163. While, typical polycrystalline module
efficiency ranged from 15.3 to 16.51 [8], battery efficiency of
0.9, and invertor efficiency of 0.95. Thus, it has represented
that the effectiveness of system efficiency is likewise with
0.1296. So, PV installing required area is 11.8 m2 or equal to
6 panels of the 72-cell type panel. Then, it has the advantage
with installing of solar cell replacing of the roof that is to be
consisted of the great vents to take the heat from the panels to
the environment with the sea breeze. It should be noted that
the maximum available area for PV panel is 18 square meters,
but trade off 6 square meters for sun deck. The PV generation
system is shown as the figure 4.
Fig. 4. Single line diagram of photovoltaic generation system
3.3 Shipbuilding
In this case, has been built at Navalian Shipyard, Pattaya,
Thailand. The ship hull is made of fiberglass, while the
support structures are made of stainless steel. The control unit
includes ship’s wheel, compass, electrical control switches,
and is installed in the motors room as shown in the figure 5
and figure 6. The ship has been named Sang Suwan.
Fig. 5. Ship overview
Fig. 6. Ship control unit
Taking into thoughtfulness the budget of the ship, it has
the higher costs than the expectation of the entrepreneurs due
to the lacking of the fiberglass molding of the ship hull. So, it
must have the higher level of the expenditures than usual.
Then, in the future it can reduce times and the expenditures in
this part for 10-20 percent from using a molding. The
expenditure is shown as the table 1. It should be noted that a
BLDC motor is more capable for electric vehicle comparing
to an AC induction motor due to compactness, cooling, and
energy consumption. Typically, the BLDC motor has a few
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G. Panprayun and S. Pitaksintorn, Vol.8, No.2, June, 2018
1127
percentage point of efficiency higher than the AC induction
motor [9, 10]. However, in this study, the AC induction drive
has been selected considering with low cost, simplicity, and
familiarity to users.
Table 1. Ship building expenditure
Equipment
Unit
Cost THB
(USD)
1. Hull
7.5 × 3.5
Meters
230,000
(6,900)
2. Electric Motor with
Controller
3-HP Motor
2 units
60,000
(1,800)
3. Transmission unit
1 unit
20,000
(600)
4. Photovoltaic Panels
300 Wp
6 panels
60,000
(1,800)
5. Battery
12V 125 Ah
12 units
72,000
(2,160)
6. Invertor
5 Kilowatts
50,000
(1,500)
7. Other Equipment
20,000
(600)
Total
512,000
(15,360)
4. Ship Evaluation
4.1 Open water performance test
Throughout during the cruise, the boat has been tested to
find the relationship between power and speed. Thus, set the
specified motor power at 500, 1,000, 1,500, 2,000, 2,500,
3,000, 3,500, 4,000, and 4,500 W then speeds were measured
using a GPS instrument and retrieved data from the charge
controller/inverter unit. The data set is shown in the figure 7.
Fig. 7. Charge controller and inverter unit
In addition, the cruise testing was performed in Laemngob
Cape, which located in the latitude positions of 12.177840 N
and 102.385357 E. The ship cruised for each specified power
for 1,000 meters in the return route from Sapanphla
Chalermphon Pier to Laemngob Pier. The route is shown in
the figure 8.
Fig. 8. Cruise testing area
Therefore, according to the weather during the test from
Thai Marine Meteorological Center, it was found that there is
the North East wind speed with 13-15 knots and high wave
with 0.3 - 0.6 meters conforming to the real test condition with
three passengers and the average weight of 80 kg. Besides,
according to the test result, it was found that the Catamaran
Solar cell has the most speed at 9.18 km/h with 4,500 W.
However, it was found that the effectiveness to use the energy
is in reducing way with the increasing with the speed as the
result is shown in the figure 9 as the performance curves of the
boat.
Fig. 9. Performance curves
Then, if it has considered about the capacity of the
designed battery, it will see that the battery can discharge the
power up to 10.8 kWh at depth of discharge equally to 0.6.
Similarly, if it has setup for the motor power with 2,000 W, it
will assist to use the solar powered catamaran with 5.4 hours
as well as traveling with the distances of 41.96 km. Thus, it
can make the table summary for selecting the suitable speed
with the tourism routes as the designing with these ways:
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Table 2. Ship performance for tourism route planning
Power
(W)
Averages of
Speed
(km/h)
Cruise
Length
(hour)
500
2.81
21.60
1,000
4.52
10.80
1,500
6.53
7.20
2,000
7.77
5.40
2,500
8.03
4.32
3,000
8.78
3.60
3,500
9.04
3.09
4,000
9.02
2.70
4,500
9.18
2.40
4.2 Cruise performance
In this case, Ko Kradat is selected as a destination since
it is the most popular destination for traveling from Ko Mak.
The solar powered catamaran has sailed from Ao Nid Bay to
Ko Kradat, around Ko Kradat, and going back to Ao Nid Pier
with whole distances of 19.188 km by classifying into 3 parts:
1) from Ao Nid Bay Pier to the South Cape of Ko Kradat
(green line) with total distances of 4.897 km 2) the route
around Ko Kradat (yellow line) with total distances of 9.743
km. Moreover, 3) the distances for the Southern of the Cape
in Ko Kradat back to Ao Nid Bay Pier (red dashed line) with
a total of 4.548 km. The cruising is shown in the figure 10.
During the time of cruise, solar insolation, solar output, motor
input, global position, and speed has been recorded. By the
way, the part around Ko Kradat is an extended distance. The
ordinary route for tourism is from Ko Mak to Ko Kradat pier,
which located in the south Cape of the island.
Fig. 10. Cruising route
Therefore, according to the weather condition during the
test of Marine Meteorological Center in Thailand it was found
that there is the North East wind speed approximately for 7-9
knots and the high wave less than 0.3 Meters conforming to
the real test condition with three passengers and the average
weight of 80 kg. Similarly, it can charge with full battery that
has the voltages of 51 V from sailing in the designated route.
Additionally, the first period of time to use the Catamaran
Solar Cell is at Ao Nid Pier to the southern Cape of Ko Kradat
island between 0.10 - 0.39 p.m. while the second period of
time to travel around Ko Kradat and the third period of time
to go out from Ko Kradat back to Ao Nid Pier begin from 0.40
- 1.19 p.m. and 1.20 - 3.10 p.m., respectively. On the same
way, during the trip it was found that the catamaran has the
good balancing with the subtle design to allow for the
passengers to walk around and doing activities conveniently.
What’s more, in the common case it has shown of no problem
about the winds and the waves except for the cruising against
the strong wind will greatly reduce the speed. Besides, the
catamaran has a good performance for cruising against or
along the wave and no severe drag as simulation and as the
figure 11. However, the weakness of the catamaran boat is
when the wave came against besides hulls, the boat rolls twice
due to double bilge design.
Fig. 11. Low water drag at boat tail
Then, the average insolation during the test is equally to
750.75 W/m2. Thus, if it has calculated with the installed area
of 12 square meters, it will gain the insolation values in the
same way with 27.18 kWh as the representation of the figure
12 with other parameters.
Fig. 12. Cruising summary
According to the analyzing of data, it was found that the
solar energy input to the PV panels is likewise to 27.18 kWh.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL of RENEWABLE ENERGY RESEARCH
G. Panprayun and S. Pitaksintorn, Vol.8, No.2, June, 2018
1129
Then, the system can transform the solar energy to battery
with equally to 4.1 kWh or 15.08 percent. Similarly, along the
testing cruise the energy has been consumed by motors with
equally to 5.7 kWh with the motor power in mean of 1,889.37
W, and with average speed for 6.26 km/h. However, apart
from the periods of time to go inside and outside of the pier as
well as the periods of time to use the catamaran forced through
the underwater rocks, this ship can make the higher speed.
Thus, in this subject it should make the realization in the
special way with using the navigation plan if it has the
requirement to sail the catamaran in 2 consecutive days. On
the other hand, although it can end the trip on the second day,
there may have the problem in using of energy as the overuse
of battery more than the design of depth of discharge. In this
case, it may affect to the duration of the battery in overall, so
it should prepare for the alternative battery with having the
charging station to be placed in. What’s more, this research
uses normal propellers which available in the study area. So,
there are some potentials for development of an impeller unit
with the suitable size for the catamaran.
5. Conclusion
The catamaran solar cell was designed as the tool for
promoting the low carbon destination and sustainable tourism
in Ko Mak Island, Trat Province, Thailand. Besides, it has
come from the listening to the opinions for the users and the
tourists until gaining the conclusion in design and building for
solar powered catamaran with the length of 7.5 meters, the
width of 3.5 meters. The catamaran has installed 6 panels of
300-Wp photovoltaic modules which equally to 12 square
meters. On the same way, it has applied the charge controller
with MPPT and inverter unit with the size of 5 kW, Deep cycle
lead acid battery has been chosen and installed for total
capacity similar to 18 kWh, the system voltage is 48 V.
Therefore, it can discharge the energy up to 10.8 kWh at depth
of discharge of 0.6 for 2 of 33 VAC 3-HP induction motors.
Furthermore, the motor has been installed in the center of the
catamaran as well as the installing of the shaft to send the
power to the impeller of the long tail ship to be easily for
maintenance. Therefore, the solar powered catamaran can
increase the speed to 9.18 km/h at 4,500 W. Then, if it has
applied the motor power with 2,000 W the speed of it will be
7.77 km/h in order to use with the solar powered catamaran
for 5.40 hours. Then, this type of ship can make the most
distance with 41.96 km. In this case, according to the result of
the ship run test in the distance of 19.19 km under the calm
weather suitably for traveling it was found that the catamaran
has efficient maneuver response, good throttle response,
passengers can walk to several parts for doing activities
conveniently. Then, in the common case it has shown of no
problem about the winds and the waves. As the result, during
the test, the insolation value is likewise to 27.18 kWh while
the Solar cell system can produce the power energy and charge
to battery with 4.1 kWh or with the effectiveness with equally
to 15.08% and the average speed with 6.26 km/h.
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... A more comprehensive study regarding PV power and battery capacity size determination was conducted by Nasirudin et al. in which the optimization of boat hull form was included into account [16], Chao et al. [17] developed a solar-powered boat design using a standalone distributed PV system. Panprayun and Pitaksintorn [18] developed and evaluated the solar-powered catamaran for sustainable tourism in Southeast of the Gulf of Thailand. The PV system was determined by using direct estimation. ...
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  • A Satayavibul
  • S Tohmad
R. Lukkanaworakul, M. Yutithum, T. Piekkoontod, and A. Satayavibul, and S. Tohmad, Study on Potential of Using Solar Powered Catamaran for Coral Reef Tourism, Report No.RDG5650017, The Thailand Research Fund, May 2016.