Kent transport

Zero-emission hydrofoil “flying” workboat launched

Marine engineers have launched a ‘world’s first’ commercially viable workboat that ‘flies’ over water using electric hydrofoils. The eco-friendly vessels deploy the same foiling technology used by America’s Cup racing yachts, with hydrofoil wings attached to the hull with vertical struts.

Much like an airplane taking off on a runway, the underwater wings lift the workboat up and out of the water as it picks up speed. This allows the craft to travel almost silently with its hull elevated above the waves, significantly reducing drag and operating costs.

The company behind the new zero-emission vessel, Artemis Technologies, is based in Belfast and run by Olympic sailing champion Iain Percy.

The 10-ton vessels, which can carry 12 passengers, have a top speed of 34 knots and a range of 60 nautical miles. Designed to be used as work boats or to carry crew on large vessels, they can be recharged in an hour and Artemis claims its eFoiler propulsion system produces a 90% energy saving on comparable vessels powered by fossil fuels.

The workboat is the result of a £12 million research and development initiative. Artemis says it’s the first of its kind available on the commercial market.

The company currently employs 60 people and expects to create 1,000 jobs over the next decade as it expands its range of green transport solutions. Artemis Technologies is a spin-off of the Artemis Racing team which competed in the America’s Cup.

Olympic sailing champion Iain Percy, founder of Artemis Technologies

A two-time Olympic champion, Mr. Percy is a four-time America’s Cup veteran. “Combining our experience in the worlds of high performance sailing, motorsports and advanced manufacturing, the electric propulsion system we have designed and developed is an absolute game changer for the industry in terms of range, cost savings and minimal wake created,” said Southampton-born Mr Percy.

“The comfort of riding a hydrofoil across a major sea lane must be experienced to be believed, providing a completely smooth journey regardless of sea conditions. This will enable engineers on crew transfer vessels or port operations to arrive at their destination and provide their services without hindrance.

“This is just the beginning. As our ships transform the commercial workboat and city-to-city passenger ferry sectors over the next few years, Belfast and the UK will be at the forefront, creating thousands of supply chain jobs and heralding a green shipbuilding revolution.

“With a global small boat market worth $70 billion, we are extremely proud to launch our first line of zero-emissions vessels for the workboat sector, which we have already generated pre-market interest. important. This is a hugely important step not only for us, but also in global decarbonization efforts, with the International Maritime Organization calling for emissions to be halved by 2050.”

Maritime UK, an industry umbrella body, welcomed the development of innovation. President Sarah Kenny said: “As an island nation, the sea surrounds us all and its impact is felt in every community across the UK.

“We’ve seen it during the pandemic, through the delivery of lifesaving supplies, and we’re seeing it now as we bounce back. Shipping being the engine of the net zero program and providing skilled jobs in every corner of the country. The launch of Artemis Technologies today shows that our legacy as maritime pioneers will continue long into the future. But continued government collaboration and investment will be key to realizing our full potential.

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Brandon Lewis said Artemis was making a “positive contribution” to the UK’s efforts to cut emissions.

“The talent and expertise of Artemis Technologies is leading the way in maritime decarbonisation and playing an important role in helping Northern Ireland and the UK achieve our net zero goals,” he said. .

“Artemis makes a positive contribution to the UK economy, supporting innovation and job growth through the development of zero-emission technology. I am delighted that such amazing technology has been developed in Northern Ireland and that I got to see the eFoiler technology up close at a recent showcase in Belfast.

“The launch of this range of green ships by Artemis Technologies is a really positive step in the fight against climate change.”

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