Thursday, July 10, 2014

Solar Power Fuels Tourism Venture

ONE of the North West’s most spectacular natural wonders can now be seen from a solar electric-powered pontoon boat.
SMOOTH OPERATOR: The new Adels Grove solar electric-powered pontoon boat cruising at Lawn Hill Gorge. - Pictures: COURTESY OF Q ENERGY SOLUTIONS

Iconic outback camping park and tourist hot spot Adels Grove this week launched the new tour boat cruising the remarkable Lawn Hill Gorge in the Boodjamulla National Park — fully equipped with state-of-the-art solar technology.

The new tour, dubbed ‘‘Cruise Lawn Hill Gorge’’, features a one-hour guided cruise along Lawn Hill Creek running through the gorge, aboard a whisper quiet pontoon boat which meets strict environmental guidelines for the national park.

The boat is a partnership between Adels Grove, the National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing Department and Mount Isa-based solar and electrical contractor Q Energy Solutions.

Project contractor and Q Energy Solutions director Matt Brewster said the tour boat was a technical and environmental marvel.

Mr Brewster said being entrusted with the new Lawn Hill Gorge tour concept for the team from Adels Grove was an exciting project.

“We were able to devise and deliver a solution that met the project’s zero per cent emission and strict timeline requirements [this time of year being peak tourism season],” Mr Brewster said.

“The pontoon boat was fitted with a 2kw extra low-voltage solar array ... which powers the boat’s Torqeedo electric outboard motor.

‘‘[It’s] capable of pushing weights of up to four tonne through the water at a comfortable cruising speed of 3 to 5km/h.

‘‘The solar array is designed to run the motor during day time operations, with a battery reserve also fitted for extra boost or cloudy or night time operation as required.”

The solar electric solution fitted to the boat would deliver 24 hour, seven day a week reliability for Adels Grove.

Adels Grove manager Michelle Low-Mow said the new tour would allow all guests and visitors, “no matter their age or fitness level”,  to take in the breathtaking sights of the gorge. “The option of a guided boat cruise in addition to hire canoes also allows guests to comfortably take pictures and ask questions along the way,” Ms Low-Mow said.


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