Dubai launches Middle East’s first solar-powered ‘abra’

Dubai launches Middle East’s first solar-powered ‘abra’

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has launched a solar-powered ‘abra’ at Al Mamzar, as part of the Dubai Government’s clean energy initiative.

The ‘abra’, the traditional wooden boat that operates at Dubai Creek, is the first public marine transit mode powered by solar energy in the Middle East, it claimed.

“The project was intended to convert an ‘abra’ powered by electricity into an ‘abra’ powered by solar energy through fitting the roof with solar panels along with other operational accessories,” said Abdullah Yousef Al Ali, chief executive officer, RTA Public Transport Agency.

A specialist company conducted a balance test during a one-month trial run of the abra at Al Jaddaf.

The tests established that the solar power system would have no negative impact on the stability and balance of the hull of the abra, and there would be no need for tinkering with the design or specifications of the existing ‘abra’ or even building new ones.

Results showed that the solar system could charge the battery up to 100 percent every day with the stored power enough to drive it for five hours at the normal operating speed of 3-4 knots.

The residual power in the battery would still be around 25 per cent with the system requiring about six daytime hours to recharge the battery in full.

“The launch of this ‘abra’ is part of RTA strategy towards fully adopting the Green Economy concept and using clean energy in various public transit means.

“The RTA is focused on turning these concepts into reality through creative initiatives for curbing carbon footprint, and using alternative energy in mass transit means,” he said.

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