The Medaka is a eco-solar ferry meaning that it not only uses solar power as a source of renewable energy, but it will also incorporate a range of other features so that it is far more environmentally friendly than existing traditional ferry designs. These features include an on-board computer system to manage renewable energy sources, flexible solar panels and lithium-ion battery technology.
The Medaka eco-commuter ferry will use a simplified hybrid electric marine propulsion system that will be easy to maintain and make the overall vessel a cost effective alternative to vessels powered by diesel engines alone.
The solar modules mounted on the roof of the Medaka will use a marine solar panel concept developed by Eco Marine Power which will allow them to be raised or lowered. In normal operation the panels are at a slight angle and the overall vessel is low enough with the panels in this position to pass under low bridges or other obstacles. The solar panels can also be mounted in a fixed position in the roof of the vessel.
The basic philosophy behind the Medaka design is to make the vessel as environmentally friendly and flexible as possible. This means that the design can be altered so that it can fulfil a variety of roles such as an urban commuter ferry, a sight-seeing vessel or even to transport goods.
It can also be configured to use a variety of power sources (in addition to the solar panels) such as an LNG or biofuel generator. It will also be possible to rapidly recharge the onboard batteries when the vessel is alongside a pier or wharf.
A state-of-the art power management system will optimise battery performance and manage energy onboard the vessel to make best use of the available power generated onboard or gathered via the solar panels.
Several variations of the basic Medaka design are currently being studied by Eco Marine Power including a simplified version for use in emerging economies.