By Carly Sisson
The SoelCat 12 is 100 percent sustainable and here to bring true ecotourism to the seas.
Soel Yachts and Naval DC are revolutionizing the ecotourism industry by introducing the SoelCat 12, an autonomous solar electric catamaran. The World Tourism Organization recognized ecotourism as having one of the highest growth rates in the industry, and with the SoelCat 12, a sustainable solar electric vessel, there is an opportunity to reduce transport-related greenhouse gas emissions for hotels and tour operators. (“SOEL” stands for SOlar ELectric and is pronounced like “soul.”) Its price has not yet been released.
Soel Yachts states: “Our self-sustaining boats result from the passion for sailing and our mind-set (sic) for contributing towards a healthier planet.” The company’s dedication to this mission is demonstrated by the SoelCat 12’s impressive versatility, which may even allow such sustainable solutions to expand beyond the tourism industry. The 39-foot boat can hold up to 18 passengers and features a completely customizable deck, capable of being arranged with luxurious yacht-like features for ecotourism resorts or economical gear for water taxi services. Completely unreliant on fuel, the SoelCat 12 is ideal for dive operations, governmental research, and marine life expeditions. It is designed to be used in saltwater and can be beached because of its fiberglass composite hull.
The SoelCat 12 is a product of Soel Yachts’ partnership with Naval DC, a specialist in electric and hybrid propulsion systems, and their integration in salt-water applications. Its performance is attributed to its light lithium polymer battery system, which weighs only 8kg per kWh. It has a total battery capacity of 120kWh and can run for six hours at eight knots on its battery alone. It can travel at speeds between six and 15 knots, operating entirely on solar energy at six knots. As a 100 percent green technology, the SoelCat 12 has the potential to save up to 142 tons of CO2 annually.