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First Solar Electric Freight Vessel Delivers Its Cargo

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

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Nov 10, 2015 12:20:16 PM

As predicted by the Celestia Project, solar-assisted freight vehicles have now become a reality.

Solar Sal, the first ever solar electric delivery vessel, carried four tons of cargo over 300 miles to Cascades’ Mechanicville facility this past month. Named after the mule in the 1905 song “Low Bridge” after Erie Canal barge traffic moved from mule power to engines, Solar Sal delivered the first-ever cargo transported across the Erie Canal without the use of any fossil fuels. It was powered exclusively by the sun, its solar arrays and the storage capacity of its onboard batteries.

The ship and its virgin voyage were sponsored byThe Chamber of Southern Saratoga County, Cascades and Hullspeed® Performance Marine Coatings, and transported 4 tons of recycled cardboard over 300 miles.

How efficient is the solar drive?

Professor-emeritus David Borton of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute designed the system so that the vessel actually runs at its peak performance using only half power. Given that the on board batteries can hold enough charge for an additional 50 mile run after dark, Solar Sal theoretically has no limits for canal usage other than the need for the crew to get a good night’s rest. 


About Solar Sal and Professor Borton
About The Chamber of Southern Saratoga County
About Cascades
About Hullspeed Performance Coatings
About the New York State Canal Corporation

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