Ferries to be powered by Solar Energy
Lancaster University is helping launch a ‘green’ ferry service in the Lake District.
During this winter the direct-drive diesel engines on the two Coniston Launch boats will be replaced by electric motors, batteries, and on-board diesel generators. This system will be linked to solar panels on the vessels.
It is believed to be the first time commercial passenger vessels on inland lakes or lochs have been fitted with solar-powered engines.
The solar power scheme was supported by Lancaster University’s Learning Tourism project, which provides small tourism businesses with 140 hours of focussed support from a consultant.
Lancaster University MBA graduate Peter Kliszcz, a freelance business consultant, who has 25 years of international sales and marketing experience, was appointed as a consultant to Coniston Ferry Services. He then put together a report outlining a potential marketing and publicity plan to promote the expertise and experience of converting the boats to alternative power.
Sarah Bennett of Lancaster University’s Cumbria and Lancashire Knowledge Economy Initiative has been working with Coniston Launches more recently. She said the university was still working with Gordon Hall, who runs Coniston Launch, to develop the project further in the coming year through the implementation of Information and Communication Technology.
Gordon Hall said: “Without the expertise provided through Lancaster University I do not see how our vision for the future could possibly have become reality.”
Alan Heywood of Learning Tourism said: "By running third mission projects, we are able to utilise the vast amount of talent we have among our student population, to help entrepreneurial and visionary businesses such as Coniston Ferry Services, move forward."
Some of the funding for the Solar power conversion scheme has been provided by the Lake District National Park Authority through the Government’s sustainable development fund.