Monday, March 25, 2019

Ocean Yacht Racing Shows the Way for Decarbonisation of Maritime Transportation

Funding Secured to Develop Next Stage of Wind/Electric Hybrid Vessels
Shipping News Feature
UK – Belfast based Artemis Technologies, a spin-off from America’s Cup team Artemis Racing, has received funding from a major seed corn programme that could see tens of millions of pounds pumped into its plans to decarbonise maritime transportation. The project which was launched in Belfast last October also intends to return commercial shipbuilding to the city.

Artemis is the only bid from Northern Ireland to be selected for the next stage of the UK Research and Innovation’s ‘Strength in Places’ Fund. It has received early-stage funding to produce a full bid. Successful projects will be awarded between £10 million and £50 million. The consortium behind the bid aims to fast track the prototyping of a new class of vessels and sub-systems, including a wind/electric hybrid, named the Autonomous Sailing Vessel (ASV).

Artemis says that a decade of high-performance yacht racing has evolved technologies and techniques in simulation, lightweight structural engineering, electronics, hydraulics, aerodynamics, and hydrodynamics. With their hydrofoils, wing sails, and complicated control systems the latest breed of space age catamarans sail at speeds of 50 knots, having more in common with aeroplanes than traditional sailboats.

The intention is to develop these technologies into a range of applications, from a city to city passenger ferry, to a defence reconnaissance vessel. The initial ASV will be a zero-emissions, 45 metre long, ocean-going high-performance commercial carbon composite wind/electric catamaran that will offer unlimited range, and Artemis Technologies Chief Executive, double Olympic gold medallist Iain Percy OBE, commented:

“This early-stage funding is a major endorsement of our plans to make Belfast the advanced maritime manufacturing capital of the world. The city is already home to some of the most advanced aerospace and composite engineering talent available anywhere on the planet and we want to harness that potential by combining it with Belfast’s rich maritime history and our own expertise in high-speed yacht design. We strongly believe this project will be an economic game-changer for Northern Ireland by placing the region at the very heart of the revolution of the maritime sector.”

Each of the shortlisted projects from the first wave of the fund has been awarded up to £50,000 in early-stage funding, which will allow applicants to develop full-stage bids. Teams behind these projects will then submit these bids to UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) in late 2019, with four to eight of the strongest set to receive between £10 million and £50 million each to carry out projects designed to drive substantial economic growth.

The Strength in Places Fund is a cross-council UKRI programme in partnership with the higher education funding bodies of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and the Office for Students. Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation, Professor Sir Mark Walport, said:

“Our clear vision is to ensure we benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas. Significant support through the Strength in Places Fund will further catalyse economic potential across the country by bringing researchers, industry and regional leadership together to drive sustained growth through world-class research and innovation.”