World’s first commercial ‘flying’ hydrofoil launched by Belfast-based enterprise | Science & Technology News
The world’s first commercially viable “flying” hydrofoil has been launched by a Belfast-based marine engineering company.
The electric hydrofoils, which are attached to the hull by vertical struts, bring the boat to the surface using technology similar to that deployed by America’s Cup racing yachts.
The eco-friendly ships are then propelled upward by these underwater wings like an airplane on a runway, steered up and out of the water as they pick up speed.
Not only does this allow the boat to move almost silently as the hull is no longer forced to separate from the waves, but it also reduces drag – and therefore operating costs – significantly.
Artemis Technologies, the company behind the zero-emissions 10-ton electric boat – which can be recharged in an hour – is led by Olympic sailing champion Iain Percy.
It employs 60 people though plans to create 1,000 jobs over the next decade.
Each boat can carry 12 passengers, maximum speed 34 knots, range 60 knots. They can be used as work boats or carry crew members on larger vessels.
Artemis says its eFoiler propulsion system is up to 90% more energy efficient than similar fossil fuel-powered boats.
The technology is a by-product of the Artemis Yacht team that competed in the US National Cup, with two Olympic champions, Mr. Percy, a four-time runner in that yacht race.
“Combining our experience from the worlds of high-performance sailing, motorsport and cutting-edge manufacturing, the electric propulsion system we have designed and developed is a great game changer. for the industry in terms of scope, cost savings and minimal creation,” said Southampton-born Mr. Percy.
“The comfort of riding a hydrofoil through a major sea route must be experienced to be believed, providing a completely smooth journey no matter the state of the sea.
“This will allow engineers in ships to transport crews or port operations to their destination and deliver their services without being obtrusive.
“This is just the beginning. As our ships transform commercial sailing and city-to-city passenger ferries in the years to come, Belfast and the UK will be at the forefront, creating created thousands of jobs in the supply chain and heralded a green shipbuilding revolution.
“With the $70 billion global small boat market, we are extremely proud to launch the first series of zero-emissions vessels for the vessel industry, from which we have received significant interest before market.
“This is a hugely important milestone not only for us but also for global decarbonisation efforts, with the International Maritime Organization requiring emissions to be halved by 2050. “
Northern Ireland Foreign Secretary Brandon Lewis said Artemis was making a “positive contribution” to the UK’s efforts to cut emissions.
“The talent and expertise at Artemis Technologies are leading the way in decarbonisation and are playing a vital role in helping Northern Ireland and the UK achieve our bogus goals,” he said.
“Artemis is making a positive contribution to the UK economy, supporting innovation and job growth through the development of zero-emission technology.
“I’m delighted that such amazing technology has been developed in Northern Ireland and I was able to see eFoiler technology up close during a recent showcase in Belfast.
“The launch of this series of green ships by Artemis Technologies is a really positive step forward in the fight against climate change.”