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“Firefly” — Solar-Powered Boat Putting Progress into a Modern Perspective

Sometimes ‘progress’ drives a good product to the brink of extinction before it brings it back. For example, between the late 1800s through the early 1920s electric boats in England were experiencing a heyday, with charging stations abundantly situated up and down the Thames river. Then, the fossil-fuel-powered internal combustion engine emerged, heralding speed boats to come. Electric marine vessels lost their allure, to say nothing of their marketing value, almost overnight.
Then, an interesting thing happened, the ’70s. It was a time when we realized oil was not a renewable resource, that conservation, moreover, meant more than a big brown bear admonishing people not to litter. A spark of interest in sustainable energies was born. Although, it took approximately another decade for electric boats to regain their lost popularity, leading at last to an awakening interest in solar-powered boats.
Today, those seventies growing pangs have erupted into ‘green’ fever. So, too, ‘progress,’ especially in terms of boating, which is no longer defined as getting where you need to go in the fastest, loudest way possible. As the Electric Boat Association, an organization that promotes electric boating throughout the United Kingdom, and has done so since 1982, puts it: “no noise, pollution, or fuss.”

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