A 100% electric, high-speed foiling workboat prototype designed and built by green maritime company Artemis Technologies has begun sea trials on Belfast Lough, an intertidal sea inlet on the east coast of Northern Ireland.
Measuring 11.5m-long, the prototype boat, named the Pioneer of Belfast, features the production specification drivetrain, battery and flight control components which the final vessel will have. Powered by an Artemis eFoiler system, the vessel is capable of smooth travel by flying over the water, and waves, on hydrofoils. The technology means the vessel’s propulsion system expends much less energy than traditionally powered workboats. High-speed recharging technology also features.
The Pioneer of Belfast was launched from Artemis Technologies’ research and manufacturing facility in Belfast Harbour, Northern Ireland, to verify its real-world technical capabilities against digital twin simulations created by the company.
Having attracted significant investment from both the UK government and other private parties, Artemis Technologies has also partnered with several Northern Irish organizations to aid in delivering a sustainable future for the maritime sector. Furthermore, the company is scheduled to launch a small workboat range in May 2022.
“Over the last five years we’ve assembled experts from the worlds of motorsport, aerospace and high-performance yacht racing who have worked closely with local talent to deliver the first of many such vessels that will leverage Belfast’s rich maritime history and place the city at the center of green ship-building industry,” commented Iain Percy, double Olympic sailing gold medalist and chief executive of Artemis Technologies.
“We’ve been recording the performance of the workboat against its gasoline powered sistership,” explained Romain Ingouf, technical director, Artemis Technologies. “Our first foiling day was in a North Easterly wind blowing 25kts with very steep sea state. Although we have simulated the two vessels very accurately, the performance and ride comfort was still mind blowing.
“We are measuring energy efficiency, ride comfort, wake creation and of course, tracking the amount of fuel used by the sistership at different speeds, across a wide range of weather conditions. Belfast Lough is the perfect testing ground. This like-for-like testing enables us to quantify the various commercial and operational benefits of the Artemis eFoiler system, as well as the emissions saved by the 100% electric Pioneer of Belfast.”
“This prototype, a first of its kind in the commercial workboat sector, is the largest electric foiling vessel in the world. Pioneer has already achieved regulatory approval, having been issued with a UK Loadline Exemption on the basis of meeting MCA’s Workboat Code through equivalence and rigorous risk assessment and mitigations,” commented David Tyler, commercial director, Artemis Technologies. “We’re now at a crucial time for not only the Artemis Technologies business but for the future of maritime transport.”