SolarSailor wins Energy Globe Award for sustainability

May 2, 2013


NSW company SolarSailor, under the lead of the Hon. Chairman Bob Hawke and CEO Dr. Robert Dane, have been awarded with the prestigious Energy Globe Award one of today’s most prominent environmental prize worldwide. Their winning “Solar Wing and Hybrid Marine Power” project has impressed the Jury of the Austrian based organsiation Energy Globe with its capacity to save up to 50% on fuel consumption and carbon emissions in sea vessels.

The award is presented to the winning team on Thursday, 02.05.2013 at 10:30am at the offices of the
European Australian Business Council, 43 Phillip Street, Sydney. The Hon. Katrina Hodgkinson, Minister for Small Businesses and Primary Industries, jointly hands over the award with Guido Stock, Austrian Consul General and Trade Commissioner. Further congratulants include Mr. Alastair Walton – President, EABC, Mr. Jason Collins – Chief Executive Officer, EABC, Mr. Stephen Loosley, Vice President of the Board, EABC and Ms. Jo Johns – Director, Memberships & Programmes, EABC.

The Energy Globe Award – The World Award for Sustainability Energy Globe is one of the world’s largest platforms for sustainability, with over 151 nations participating yearly in the Energy Globe Awards. It distinguishes projects regionally, nationally and globally that conserve resources such as energy and utilize renewable or emission-free sources. The goal of the Energy Globe Award is to create the necessary awareness concerning solutions to our environmental problems and to demonstrate that each of us can make a positive contribution. The winning projects serve as examples, which are presented on the Energy Globe website and in the Energy Globe project database.

The Project: Solar Sailboats with Hybrid Engines

It looks like a ship and an airplane all in one. BBC referred to it as “possibly the greatest evolution in
boats since the advent of steam”, and yet it is extremely simple: This new vessel is a combination of
solar and wind power controlled by a sophisticated computer system, that will change the future of
transportation on water. The combination of SolarSailor technology with conventional engines is an
economically feasible solution that enables the ship to use wind, the sun, batteries or fuel for
propulsion. That way large quantities of fuel are saved and there is less negative impact on the
environment. This technology can be used for many different kinds of boats and ships from small,
unmanned drones to cargo ships.

The project was inspired by the wings of a dragonfly. Robert Dane has a degree in medicine and is married with two adult sons. His family says that he has salt in his blood. His father as well as his uncle served in the navy. Since 1996 Robert has been following the idea that boats can run through solar panels. He especially enjoyed watching the
Australian Solar Boat Race and eventually found himself thinking more and more about this idea. He
began to design the SolarSailor when he realized that wings with solar collectors are used for flying.
So he decided to try the same thing with sailboats.

Prototype Marjorie K won several awards at a race in 1997. It was difficult to come up with enough
capital and to make this new technology more economical; also it was hard to come up with a good
team. But all these challenges were eventually met. The SolarSailor did 15 knots and was the clear
winner at the Solar Boat Race. Soon engineering success set in as well and the boat won the
Australian Design Award. Currently, several vessels are in service and taking people from the
mainland to Kai Sai Chau Island/Hong Kong. By now there are enough possible purchase orders to
build hybrid ferries. There are also plans in cooperation with several industrial partners to mount large
sails on tankers.

SolarSailor is a seaworthy ship that applies sophisticated computer technology in order to take
advantage of the wind, the sun, batteries, or fuel. Should you require any further information on the event, or wish to participate, please contact sydney [at]