Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2012, 7:49 AM EDT
Published : Sunday, 20 May 2012, 3:33 PM EDT
NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) - With the help of the canal authority three men are going to be making a 10 day trip from North Tonawanda.
What is special about this trip is that they are testing their 100% solar powered boat, which is the first of its kind. All other solar powered boats have been hybrids.
The solar panel will charge a set of batteries and then the batteries run the boat.
"Notion is that once the sun goes down you can't drive your solar boat anymore. We're going to prove that you can drive it 24 hours a day with the bank of batteries that we will have enough charge to go through the night and back into the daytime," says Bob Meacham.
They will not be doing that on this trip because they want to enjoy the stops along the Erie Canal, but shortly after they plan to make that 24 hour run with this boat.
"Our goal is to promote the canal and along with promoting solar. You can be part of the recreation of the canal and be part of its vast facilities and you don't have to pollute the environment," says Meacham.
The boat speed can get up to about 15 knots. The basic boat will start around $45,000 and that will compare to a 23 foot ski boat that goes for around $80,000. So this boat will actually end up being cheaper.
The design is the number one reason for this with the hull coming from Tim Clissold, a New Zealand racing boat designer.
"The first thing was to find an efficient enough hull that adds the stability and that the waves thrown between the hulls so that we were not pushing water," says Jack Capel.
"You hear the water off the hull but there is no engine noise. It is the same amount of noise a canoe makes," says Meacham.