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Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced the formal operation of a solar-powered abra, first of its kind in the Middle East
The introduction of the abra, which is being deployed at Al Mamzar, follows several trial runs to verify the possibility of changing speed. The scheme is part of Dubai Government’s initiative ‘Green Economy for a Sustainable Environment’.
Abdullah Yousef Al Ali, CEO of RTA Public Transport Agency, said, “This abra is the first public marine transit mode powered by solar energy in the Middle East. The project was intended to convert an abra powered by electricity into an abra powered by solar energy through fitting the roof of the abra with solar panels along with other operational accessories.
“A specialist company conducted a balance test during a one-month trial run at Al Jaddaf with no riders onboard. It was established that the solar power system would have no negative impact on the stability and balance of the hull of the abra, and accordingly, there would be no need for tinkering with the design or specifications of the existing abra or even building new ones.
“Results have shown that the solar system can charge the battery up to 100 per cent every day, the stored power would be good enough to drive the abra for five hours at the normal operating speed of three to four knots, and the residual power in the battery would be around 25 per cent. The system requires about six daytime hours to recharge the battery in full.”
Al Ali explained that the launch of the abra is part of RTA strategy towards fully adopting the green economy concept and using clean energy in various public transit means. “The RTA is focused on turning these concepts into reality through creative initiatives for curbing carbon footprint, and using alternative energy in mass transit means,” added the CEO.