A Belfast Maritime Consortium led by Artemis Technologies has won a £33m (US$40m) UK government innovation grant to develop zero-emissions ferries in the city, which it says will revolutionize the future of maritime transportation.
With further investment from consortium partners, Artemis said the total project investment will reach close to £60m (US$74m) over the next four years, creating an initial 125 research and development jobs, and leading to more than 1,000 in the region over the next 10 years.
A spin-off from the America’s Cup sailing team, Artemis Racing, Artemis Technologies is led by double Olympic gold medalist Iain Percy OBE. Perry explained, “When we launched Artemis Technologies, we decided to base ourselves in Belfast because of the incredible aerospace and composite engineering talent available. Belfast’s local expertise coupled with the city’s rich shipbuilding heritage, and our own America’s Cup yacht design experience, will ensure Belfast is the global lead in zero-emissions maritime technology.
“For years, we’ve been designing low energy, high performance solutions for some of the fastest yachts on the planet, and we will now utilize that knowledge, and along with our partners, apply it to build the world’s most environmentally friendly high-speed ferries, capable of carrying up to 350 passengers.
“Our concept for an electric hydrofoil propulsion system is totally unique and will enable vessels of the future to operate with up to 90% less energy, and produce zero emissions during operation.”
The new ferries are set to use Artemis’s eFoiler propulsion system, which consists of a high-power density electric motor, incorporated into a carbon-fiber hydrofoil. The company stated that this design combines both effective propulsion with a minimal increase in surface area and thus drag on the hydrofoil; compared with a traditional passive ‘V’ hydrofoil, it claims a drag reduction of up to 90%.