Kubota gen-set used to augment wind and solar power on
floating environmental education center
All farms rely on the sun and the elements to produce their bounty. The Science Barge,
a prototype sustainable urban farm in
the Hudson River at Yonkers, N.Y.,
does the same — with a diesel generator set as a backup just in case.
The barge, developed by New
York Sun Works and acquired by
Groundwork Hudson Valley in October
2008, is a floating environmental
education center that incorporates a
greenhouse and stations used to teach
students the basics of hydroponics and
renewable energy. Part of Groundwork
USA, a national organization dedicat-
ed to helping communities revitalize
Groundwork Hudson Valley operates
in the lower Hudson Valley area, devel-
oping an array of on-the-ground envi-
ronmental projects that directly involve
local residents, especially youth.
During its April-to-November season, the Science Barge grows fresh
produce such as tomatoes, melons,
greens and lettuce with zero net carbon emissions, no pesticides and no
runoff. The bounty is sold at the Get
Fresh Yonkers Farmers Market.
Engineered to operate completely
off the grid, the Science Barge is
said to be the only fully functioning
demonstration of renewable energy
supporting sustainable food production in New York.
Nearly all of the energy needed to
power the barge is generated by solar
panels and wind turbines, but when
those fall short, the vessel relies on
a Kubota GL7000-USA Lowboy generator set.
“I am an environmentalist to the
core,” said Bob Walters, director of the
Science Barge, who is often referred
to as “Capt. Bob,” as he coordinates
the operation of the vessel. “But the
exhaust from the diesel generator
assures me we can keep the hydro-
ponic systems going.”
The gen-set is driven by a liquid-
cooled, two-cylinder Kubota Z482
diesel rated 10. 9 hp at 3600 rpm.
The naturally aspirated engine has a
bore and stroke of 67 x 68 mm for a
total displacement of 0.479 L, and it
is directly coupled to a single-phase,
rotating-field alternator that delivers
7.0 k W of 60 Hz standby power.
Earlier this year, Walters contacted
Kubota Engine America (KEA), the
North American distributor of Kubota
engines and generators, to inquire
about the unit, as the previous gen-
erator, also a Kubota unit, became “a
While it relies primarily on the sun and the wind for its electricity, Groundwork Hudson Valley’s Science Barge, a floating prototype sus-
tainable urban farm also incorporates a backup diesel generator set. The barge is a popular destination for school groups, where students
learn about sustainable hydroponic agriculture.