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Flora is a hybrid riverboat solution powered by solar energy which promotes indigenous communities’ development through a new means of transport.

Brazilian indigenous communities are the targeted customer. Indigenous communities represent 15% of the world’s poorest people. Most of the time, they are not able to fulfill their basic primary needs due to the high cost or simply lack of fuel in the remote areas where they live. The aim is to make transport feasible without fuel dependence.

The project has addressed three different areas. Firstly, improving the boat’s range during the electric mode by evaluating different technologies to deliver the best performance at a reasonable price. Secondly, improving the mechanical performance by designing a clutch mechanism which disengages the diesel engine and transmits the electric motor’s torque to the propeller shaft. And thirdly, a co-design activity with the user to understand their way of thinking and outline the project according to their knowledge, values, and beliefs.

This project has been completed in collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering.