Oceantera Introduces First Solar Electric 'Outrigger' Boat in Philippines

Oceantera Energy Corporation, a joint venture between Orkney-based Aquatera and Philippine-based OceanPixel, has successfully delivered the first renewable energy powered electric ‘outrigger’ boat in the Philippines, a significant breakthrough in the provision of sustainable inter-island transport and decarbonization of the global maritime sector.
Oceantera Introduces First Solar Electric
Courtesy of Aquatera

On November 8, the electric outrigger, aptly named the Adlao Azul or ‘Blue Sun’ was launched in Coron, Palawan in the Philippines. Remote island and coastal communities in the Philippines face energy security challenges and like many others in South East Asia, are reliant on carbon intensive sources of energy.

Ian Hutchison, Director of Aquatera and Oceantera said, “It’s fantastic to be able to bring our partnership’s collective expertise in sustainable energy systems to support island communities around the world to decarbonize. The Oceantera team in the Philippines has done a tremendous job in delivering this technology into the local market. 

"Through this initiative, we plan to work with local businesses, communities, and partners to help establish fossil fuel free transportation networks across the Philippines and wider South East Asia.”

Locally known as a ‘banca’, the outrigger boat in the Philippines is typically made of wood and powered by a second-hand diesel engine. The banca forms the backbone of countless communities in the Philippines, providing lifeline sources of food, clean water, transport, haulage and livelihoods through tourism, fisheries, and other commercial maritime activities. 

Addressing the needs of remote communities such as these, Oceantera aims to provide clean, reliable ocean transportation, ensuring energy security to residents, using renewable sources of energy, in order to create sustainable energy ecosystem for local communities.

The Adlao Azul is part of the Renewable Energy-Powered Marine Transport for Island Communities (REPMTIC) project which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), implemented by USAID Energy Secure Philippines (ESP) and Oceantera. The project aims to develop ‘retrofit kits’ which can be used to replace traditional diesel-powered engines in existing outriggers and in new builds.  The Adlao Azul was designed and fabricated to showcase the technology in local market conditions with the support of Sangat Island Dive Resort and the local government units.

Present at the launch of Adlao Azul were representatives from the Municipal Government of Coron, Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Palawan State University, Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, Calamianes Resilience Network, Calamianes Marine Protected Area Network, Coron Tourism Network and Bank of the Philippine Islands - Coron.  The project has captured the interest of key stakeholders and gained substantial support for the subsequent phases’ development.

 PHOTO:  A Marina-registered banca with a hull made of fiberglass and a propulsion system powered by solar energy and battery. It can carry six passengers and two boat crew and travel up to five hours with a maximum speed of 11 knots.  It has a cold storage facility for the delivery of perishable goods and temperature-sensitive commodities, such as vaccines, to remote communities.

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