Ready to push forward green tourism and brace for developing clean energy vessels continuously
Targeting to expand the markets in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand within 5 years

“Banpu NEXT” partnered up with “Sakun C” and “Phuket Patri Tour” to officially announce the launch of the mega project - the first of its kind marine tourism boat from the electric vessels product group: “Banpu NEXT e-Ferry” registered by the Marine Department as Thailand’s First Marine Tour e-Ferry. The project features an innovative tourism ferry powered by clean energy sources of international standards. The ferry is fully equipped with advanced hardware and high-quality software technologies using electric powered batteries. Under the objectives to leverage the “Green Tourism”, the e-Ferry will help restore the marine ecosystem, reduce air pollution, as well as save the consumption of world energy resources. Scheduled to provide service in Phuket, the first e-Ferry will serve as a safe, convenient and eco-friendly travel choice for modern tourists while supporting a sustainable growth for the electric vessels industry. The companies also revealed a roadmap plan to develop a second e-Ferry, which will take clean energy technology to another level with the installation of solar-cell panels. The second boat development is targeted to be completed within 2021. Meanwhile, the e-Ferry business is expected to expand and thrive throughout the coasts of Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand over the next 5 years. 

Mr. Withaya Yamoung, Director-General of the Marine Department, shared his view, “It’s been a pleasure for the Marine Department to play a part in the success of the e-Ferry’s development. We have celebrated the completion of the e-Ferry on our 161st Anniversary of the Department and named it the first e-Ferry for maritime tourism to be registered in Thailand. The project has passed all our stringent certification processes, from materials and on-board equipment, to safety systems to ensure the ferry is ready to serve commercially. This is a milestone for the electric vessels industry – it’s raised the bar for the standardization of the water transportation, as well as Thailand’s maritime commerce.” 

Mrs. Somruedee Chaimongkol, Chief Executive Officer of Banpu PCL. and Banpu Next Co., Ltd., revealed that “This collaboration is considered a flagship project for the three partners. We would like to leverage the ship development industry in Thailand to meet international standards, and to promote more use of smart clean energy in order to drive ‘Green Tourism’. Banpu NEXT, a subsidiary of Banpu, as 
a leading smart clean energy solution provider in Asia-Pacific, continues to underline the Greener & Smarter strategy of Banpu by bringing together innovation, knowledge and expertise to support the development and production of the first Marine Tour e-Ferry in Thailand. We’ve integrated high-capacity 625 kWh lithium-ion batteries (LiB) from our business partner Durapower Holdings Pte Ltd1, developed especially for the usage of e-Ferries under a joint-investment with Banpu. Our high-quality batteries have been certified by over 40 international quality assurance and patent certification bodies. Moreover, Banpu NEXT has established an e-Ferry charging station at Phuket’s Ao Por Pier, as well as equipping the station with cutting-edge technology, such as an Energy Management System (EMS) for energy storage control, charging and regulation of appropriate usage capacities. We can take the data from this system for analysis and further investigation to plan a preventive maintenance for the e-Ferry. Furthermore, we will be able to bring the data from the platforms working jointly with the Internet of Things (IoT) system to develop and design the required rate of energy consumption to suit each client in the future. Recently, we have embarked on the latest development with our partners to develop the second e-Ferry which will be equipped with comprehensive clean energy solutions. By adding solar cell panels onto the roof of the ferry, we expect more energy efficiency from the new ferry which is scheduled to be complete within next year.”

Mr. Namchai Sakunchoknamchai, President of Sakun C Innovation Co., Ltd., further explained, “From an integrated collaboration among Sakun C, Banpu NEXT, Marine Department, and the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), along with all Thai researchers, we have jointly developed the first Marine Tour e-Ferry in Thailand and taken it from a prototype to a fully commercial vessel. The challenge of this project lay in the design and development of an e-Ferry which could meet all needs from Phuket Patri Tour with reasonable price while maintaining international standard quality. Sakun C has designed the ferry structure for the tourism industry. We placed the battery storage at the middle of the hull (Design Balancing) in order to protect the energy source from any unexpected event.  With the use of seamless boat assembly technology, including the use of materials and quality equipment such as using aluminum as the main material of the ferry, we have given it special features of light weight, enhanced strength, durability, corrosion-resistance, structural safety, and energy saving. The qualities of aluminum have advantages over steel, which is a popular material used to produce water vessels. We also chose a motor that is certified by IEC2, using electric wires and conduit pipes specifically for water vehicles. Moreover, we also installed an insulation system to prevent sparks and short circuit, as well as installing temperature sensors to give alerts on battery heat and the cooling control system of the drive motor. These systems enable the e-Ferry to work efficiently and with maximum security. Various systems and technology used in the production of this e-Ferry have been tested by NSTDA. The ferry is 20 meters long, driving at a top speed of 17 knots and will be able to serve over 30 years.

Mr. Chaiya Rapuepol, Managing Director, Phuket Patri Tour Group Co., Ltd., shared “Phuket has the 2nd largest income from tourism in Thailand. Each year, this province welcomes countless domestic and international tourists. As a leading tourism service operator in Phuket, we recognized the opportunities to raise the awareness on ‘Green Tourism’ which is in linked with the ‘Responsible Tourism’ initiatives of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), by means of using an e-Ferry to serve our clients. We started to look around for a leading organization who could provide us a 100% clean energy marine vessel. As a result, Banpu NEXT and Sakun C joined hands to bring together expertise and technology advancement to respond to our business needs. From providing support for tourists, enhancing travel safety, promoting environmental friendliness by reducing air and noise pollution, restoring the aquatic ecosystem, to cost reduction on fuel and maintenance, this large-size e-Ferry will be able to accommodate a maximum of 90 tourists. Meanwhile, the ferry also responds to the social distancing needs during the outbreak prevention of Covid-19 because it’s spacious. We plan to inaugurate the cruise service officially for all tourists who care for the environment between Phuket and Pang-nga Bay for the first time from this September onwards.”

“Banpu NEXT estimates an energy saving from using this e-Ferry for 1 year at 26,250 liters of petrol, equal to a Co2 emission reduction of 69.3 tons or an equivalent of planting 8,700 trees3. In addition to the collaboration, Banpu NEXT continues to lead the innovation and provide knowledge sharing of innovative clean energy technology for our business network. We join forces with leading partners in order to promote the ‘Betterment for All’ initiatives. We also planned a roadmap to continue the development of different electric water vessels. Information from the Marine Department showed that there are approximately 3,000 marine tourism boats today, with 2,000 serving in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand in 4 provinces, including Phuket, Phang-Nga, Krabi and Surat Thani. Therefore, our goal is to produce electric tourist ferries to serve the tourists in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand covering all 4 mentioned provinces by 2025 in order to support the growth opportunities of the electric tourist vessels industry, as well as to leverage the ‘Green Tourism’ experience for tourists and people in the local community. These are our efforts in response to the growing trend of clean energy and to propel Thailand’s energy development into the Energy 4.0 era,” Mrs. Somruedee concluded.

1Remark: Dura Power Holdings Limited, Singapore's energy storage company, is a partner under Banpu Next’s joint investment. The company is an expert in design, manufacture and installation of lithium-ion storage batteries (LiB) systems for automobiles and various backup power systems for over 10 years.
2Remark: Reference Source
3Remark: When compared to planting 4,950 – 8,663 trees (smallest to largest trees)