To bolster public trust in clean energy using environment friendly transport, an international team of a journalist and a filmmaker will set sail down the Ganga in a solar powered boat.The team of American journalist, traveller and adventurer Thomas Tomczyk and Guatemalan filmmaker Ana Cosenza will aim for a world record for the longest solar boat travel down a river.Tomczyk and Cosenza, will sail down from Rishikesh in Uttarakhand to the Sagar Island in Bay of Bengal.
“We are travelling on a solar powered boat from Rishikesh to Sagar Island in the Bay of Bengal. As far as we know, this is going to be the first solar boat to travel down the length,” Tomczyk told IANS from Delhi ahead of their trip that begins next week.”It will establish a world record for the longest solar boat down any river. Along the journey we will film a six part travel documentary series for American television,” Tomczyk said.
During their six to eight week sojourn, Cosenza and Tomczyk will stop in many towns and cities along the river bank to film the documentary ‘Electric River Odyssey’.The duo said that although the alternative energy solutions are already available, people still refer to it as “technology of the future”.”We chose to use a solar boat because we believe that clean energy and self-sufficiency is very important,” Cosenza said.However, she said, “Somehow people still have little trust in the technology and refer to it as the technology of the future even though it is already available.”
“We want to prove that this extraordinary journey can be accomplished and inspire people in turn to think outside the box,” Cosenza said.Tomczyk is the executive producer for this project. In 2015, he broke the record for the longest electric motorcycle ride for his Philadelphia to the tip of Patagonia, Chile’s Punta Arenas trip. Filmmaker Cosenza documents these journeys.They also aim to highlight how important it is to leave the environment and wildlife undisturbed during traveling.
“It is important for us to promote ways of transportation that do not pollute and affect as little as possible the places where we travel,” said Cosenza.”When filming wildlife, an electric boat — that has an internal combustion engine –is so silent, it enables us to get much closer to the animals without scaring them away,” said Cosenza.
But what is so alluring about the Ganga?
“I have been coming to India for many years. I know the country quite well. I always thought it would be a great adventure to travel along the Ganga in a manner that not many people have done,” Tomczyk said.A Kochi-based company, Team Sustain has put the boat together by modifying a Zodiac Rubber Boat to fit three solar panels and a powerful electric motor.