The solar powered sailor | Meet Sandith Thandassery

He sat down in a corner of the room, looking as calm and composed as one could be. His smile and confident posture seemed to have commanded the regard that the crowd had showcased. Little did I know of who he was and about his fascinating solar power passenger boat.

Meet Sandith Thandassery. An alumnus of IIT-Madras, Sandith Thandassery also holds a degree in naval architecture as well as an MBA from a university in France.

It was his dream to build something out of the ordinary. Hence, in the year 2008, he founded Navgathi Marine Engineering and Design. Six years later he founded Navalt. It was the team at this firm that was instrumental is designing India’s fastest solar power boat called ADITYA. The boat has also been enlisted in the Limca Book of Records.

ADITYA – What is unique about it?

The boat weighs only 17 tonnes and utlises about 12 KW of power. Lithium cells have been used to build the boat’s efficient power train, which is incidentally safer than other alternative options. This boat can carry about 75 people per trip and is equivalent to the size of six buses. There are two power supply units which are monitored from time to time. These are few reasons behind the rather low operating costs of the vehicle. Moreover, this is an environment-friendly way of transportation. The boat can be charged (like an electric car), during the lunch hours as well. This method is most apt for the monsoon season.

Incidentally, the Kerala state government has placed an order for more solar powered boats by Navalt.

Exploring the path less traveled

Sandith stated that the journey towards building ADITYA was not a walk in the park. While he did find it difficult in the initial stages to finance the project, he believed that any project will be able to acquire adequate funds if it appears to be sustainable. Moreover, the good will of the public does play a crucial role. “Competition is good. You need a strong rival or an enemy to motivate you to work harder,” commented Sandith.

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