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New electric ferries have a test run on Bangkok’s klongs



The Bangkok Marine Department has completed a test run of a new electric boat on Saen Saeb klong. The tests have been part of the development for a replacement of Bangkok’s deisel-powered, noisy and dirty canal and river ferries.

Marine Department Director General, Wittaya Yamuang says the tests of the eco-friendly passenger boat on Saen Saeb canal was all over in 20 minutes. The electric-powered boat travelled four kilometres from Phan Fah Lilat pier to Pratunam pier without noise pollution travelling at around 22 kph.

Bert Fabian, program officer in the Air Quality and Mobility Unit, says they’d teamed up with Thai partners to identify the types and amount of pollutants being emitted from boats plying the klongs and the Chao Phraya in Bangkok. He noted that Bangkok suffers annual bouts of severe air pollution and this previously unmeasured source may be a significant contributing factor.

“We want to improve the air we breathe but we can’t do this without the best possible data.”

He ventured that once the operators replace their ageing, polluting diesel boats with electric vessels, the city’s network of klongs would potentially offer a clean alternative and have a marked impact on both traffic congestion and air pollution in Bangkok.

Sonthi Kotchawat, a prominent environmental health expert, also said that discarding all diesel fuels used around the city would be key to tackling Bangkok’s larger air-pollution problems.

Thailand’s transport sector is the largest source of air pollution in Bangkok and a recent study found that vehicle exhaust fumes contribute up to 52 per cent of the pollution.

The Bangkok Marine Department worked with Kasetsart University to study and build the 100 seat passenger ferry with electric powered engine to reduce city pollution. The test vessel is constructed from aluminium can travel 60 kilometres between charges. More tests are be conducted in line with the department’s safety standards to assess the viability and practicality of the new boats before they are introduced to the city’s klongs.


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  1. Rudolf Menon

    Wednesday, August 5, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    I wonder if its a standard charged battery. Hydrogen electric technology is more suitable for boats.

  2. Markus

    Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 10:13 am

    Electric powered engines increase the consumption of energy provided by Power Plants and Hydro electric facilities. Therefore, they just move the environment issue about pollution from one problem to another polluant. Electric smog is as bad as pollution from any engines.
    Focus on ban all vehicles from the City’s area would be way more effective. Who doesn’t provide a prouvé of a parking spot should never get license plates.
    Neither should vehicles be allowed to enter the City without providing a valid reason.
    The air quality would improve quickly. Boat owners are easier to tackle and terrorize than automobilistes. But, the abilities to get rid of the primary reason of air pollution are present!
    Hydroelectric engines are way more suitable then the initial project.
    A smart build of the engine would even allow to charge the battery while in use and travelling throughout the klongs and the Chao Phraya river

  3. Vincent Vermeulen

    Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 11:31 am

    Now let’s hope the follow with the tuk tuk, public busses and bath busses. And while they at it throw in a plastic and styrofoam ban.

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