Electric boat manufacturing firm NavAlt is all set to break its very own record of making the fastest solar-powered boat in the world. Behind the prosperity of 39-year-old Sandith Thandassery, CEO of NavAlt, there are several many years of hard work. Sandith, who graduated from IIT-Madras in Naval Engineering in 1999, was living comfortably and working in a South Korean ship-building company, as he quit his job and took up entrepreneurship.
Hailing from Peringottukara in Thrissur, Sandith did his schooling in Thiruvananthapuram, where his father was doing work in ISRO. Having a dream to begin their own ship building firm, Sandith relocated to France to pursue studies at INSEAD, a premier business school. During 2009, he launched Navgathi Marine Design and Construction, and also, since then, his team continues to be focusing on boat designing.
It was no cakewalk, according to Sandith. “The mission to do something innovative prompted us to turn to the construction of solar boats. After repeated failures, our company successfully brought out a small solar boat, which was noticed by French boat making company AltEn Systems. Discussions were held and NavAlt formed a joint venture with AltEn and French firm Eve Systems in 2013,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the first solar boat built by Sandith entered the Limca Book of Records for being the fastest such boat on the planet. “The boat could travel at 6 knots hourly. Now, having a speed of 7.5 knots per hour, our latest solar ferry Aditya would be the fastest within the category.
We now have sent the details to Limca Book of Records,” said Sandith. NavAlt is focused on constructing boats and ferries that actually work on non-fossil fuel. Currently, several agencies in the country are in discussions with NavAlt for projects. “We built 20-seater solar boats for any Punjab-based company, and a ten-seater boat for a pan-Indian hotel chain. The main advantage of solar boats is that they cause minimal pollution, vibration, and noise. Solar-powered ferries tend to be more viable than those work on fossil fuel,” he added.