Phuket adopts electric power to limit pollution and promote eco-tourism

Through the Phuket City Development project, smart-flow technology will be used to collect tourism data and electric vehicles will be a new transportation alternative for vacationers in the near future. The recent advent of the innovative Banpu Next e-Ferry is another step in raising awareness of sustainable tourism among local residents and marine tour operators.

This is a collaboration between Banpu Next and Phuket Patri Tour in the creation of Thailand’s first electric sea cruise ferry to cruise from Phuket to Phang Nga Bay so that eco-conscious travelers can enjoy vacation experiences.

Today, some 2,000 boats have been active in maritime tourism activities in four provinces – Phuket, Phangnga, Krabi and Surat Thani – stretching around the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, according to the survey. of the Ministry of the Navy on tourist boats and ferries in exercise 2019.

“Now Phuket has the city development project to turn into a smart city using smart flow technology to collect data and electric cars to provide tourists with a new transportation option, making it a great market for clean energy companies. Banpu specializes in smart energy solutions that respect the environment. We believe that Banpu Next e-Ferry will play a major role in smart tourism, ”said Somruedee Chaimongkol, CEO of Banpu and Banpu Next.

“Diesel powered, general purpose tourist boats have left oil stains on the sea and produced noise pollution at the same time. Our electric ferry is quiet and can help save 28,000 liters of fuel per year, which is equivalent to planting 8,700 trees. Homeowners can reduce maintenance costs by 30%. “

Built by Sakun C Innovation, this 74-seat boat can carry up to 94 passengers and is made of lightweight, durable aluminum to prevent sinking. Smarter both in terms of design and technology, it is powered by a 625 kWh lithium-ion battery from Dura Power, which can last three hours and 25 minutes on a four-hour charge, as the battery management system energy will control energy production and storage for greater efficiency, as well as using available data for preventive maintenance and quality assessment.

The battery storage is placed in the middle of the ferry to minimize vibrations, so that passengers can enjoy a smooth journey. The Banpu Next e-Ferry is priced at 35 million baht, including the system of energy management, intelligent analysis and 10-year battery life, depending on charge and maintenance. “

Managed by veteran local entrepreneur Chaiya “Ko Dam” Rapuepol, the Phuket Patri Tour has generated 180 million baht per year by offering green marine tour programs from Phuket to Ao Phang Nga National Park. Ko Dam has a fleet of 22 tourist boats and operates Ao Po Pier, which in the past received more than 2,000 tourists per day from China, South Korea and Europe.

“I have been in the maritime tourism industry for 25 years. I have noticed that our sea has become dirty and I think something will bring a big change to the world and to us in the next four or five years. So I believe that an electric boat is a good solution to save our seas as it can help reduce noise and air pollution. It’s time to give something back to Ao Phang Nga National Park, which has been ma gold mine, ”said Ko Dam, who also serves as president of the Andaman Tourism Business Association.

“I am targeting high-end tourists, concerned about preserving the environment. I will launch the Patri Premium service, from 3,500 baht including the transfer of the route, insurance, the pier, food and guide. I focus on quality rather than quantity. The green tourism trend is coming and will help filter visitors to Phuket. I think the e-Ferry will eliminate the price war because it is about innovation. Chinese tour operators cannot build their own electric tourist boats to create a fierce competitive environment. “

Ko Dam added that the speed of the Banpu Next e-Ferry is limited to 12 to 15 knots (around 30 km / h) so that marine ecosystems and natural tourist attractions are not damaged by its wake. This eco-friendly boat can save 70pc of diesel fuel and its charge only costs 2,500 baht for a full charge. A normal ferry costs 10,000 baht for a single trip from Phuket to James Bond Island.

“The COVID-19 pandemic gives us a clear picture of marine ecological degradation. For several years, people have not been aware of the magnitude of this problem. Nature rehabilitates itself after a longer break. For example, we can see a group of turtles land on the beaches and lay eggs. It alerts all sectors to change their habits in terms of sustainable tourism. This project will become a model of clean energy transportation, ”said Chanit Suwanparin, senior vice president of electric vehicles at Banpu Next.

Preparing for the peak season, Ko Dam poured 200 million baht into the Flowlow project in collaboration with Flow Corp to transform Ao Po pier into a smart pier, with the aim of improving the safety of tourists and prevent a second wave of the COVID-19 epidemic.

“Ao Po is Thailand’s first smart pier. We have developed a facial recognition system and tracking technology to create a database that authorities can use to track where tourists visit and stay. In the near future, it will be a gateway to accommodate a fleet of 60 foreign superyachts, whose owners are to drop anchor 1 km off the coast of Phuket and remain in quarantine for 14 days. Doctors and staff have to go through this jetty for temperature checks, ”said Ko Dam.

“I recently signed an agreement with Phuket Boat Lagoon, Asia Marina Phuket, Royal Phuket Marina and Rawai Pier to install and manage the smart pier systems. These four piers welcome 60 pc of tourists to Phuket and Krabi, so a database will become important in the tourism industry when the country reopens its border. “

The Flowlow project also offers a collection of innovative wristbands with GPS trackers to identify tourists, collect their basic medical history and provide emergency assistance. At the same time, Banpu Next is developing a smart mobility platform using its successful MuvMi app to build an alternative public transport system for tourists in Phuket.

“In the near future, we will offer integrated electric vehicle fleet management to support the Phuket smart city project, in which tourists will be able to use the electric taxi, motorcycle taxi and tuk tuk services through an app. mobile. More convenient, they can check the fares and get the driver’s information because the service center can monitor their routes to ensure safety, ”Chanit said.

“There is also a carsharing platform to provide multiple electric car rental services at hourly or daily rates. The condition is flexible for customers to choose different locations to pick up and drop off a car.”

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