If there was any doubt in your mind that Dubai and the UAE as a whole are committed to harnessing solar power as the energy source of the future, this is a fine example of their pledge.
Dubai’s Road and Traffic Authority has just announced that the city’s oldest means of transport (together with the trusted camel, of course), is getting a futuristic and green revamp.
Drum roll, please! The city’s first solar-powered abra is now officially in operation.
If you’re new to Dubai and the Middle East, abras are the wooden water taxis used to ferry people across Dubai Creek, the fee for the trip costing just Dhs1.
They’re powered by a motor, much like a speed boat, which uses fuel.
But with the launch of this first solar-powered abra at Al Mamzar Beach near Sharjah, the gates to greener maritime transport have flung open.
“This abra is the first public marine transit mode powered by solar energy in the Middle East,” Abdullah Yousef Al Ali, CEO of RTA Public Transport Agency said.
“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.”
The tests established that the solar power system would have no negative impact on the stability and balance of the hull of the abra, and there would be no need for tinkering with the design or specifications of the existing ‘abra’ or even building new ones.
“The launch of this green abra is part of RTA strategy towards fully adopting the Green Economy concept and using clean energy in various public transit means,” Al Ali added.
"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."
As one of the fastest growing cities in the world, Dubai has understandably suffered the environmental consequences of mass oil production and a population that’s constantly commuting by car.
Fortunately, authorities have been quick to react to these trends and the UAE can now add the green abra to an array of sustainable projects in place that are set to make Dubai the world’s greenest city by 2020.