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Artemis Technologies’ 100% Electric Foiling Workboat Takes to Belfast Lough

26th April 2022
The first image of the Artemis Technologies 100 per cent electric, high-speed foiling prototype. Trials of the workboat vessel ‘Pioneer of Belfast’ have commenced on Belfast Lough
The first image of the Artemis Technologies 100 per cent electric, high-speed foiling prototype. Trials of the workboat vessel ‘Pioneer of Belfast’ have commenced on Belfast Lough

Artemis Technologies, the global leader in green maritime innovation, has just released the first pictures of its 100% electric, high-speed foiling workboat prototype on Belfast Lough.

The vessel was designed and built to include the production specification drivetrain, battery and flight control components consumers will eventually see in the finished workboat. With big goals set for 2022, this announcement brings Artemis Technologies one step closer to providing high-speed zero-emission maritime transport to the masses.

The 11.5 metre vessel named “Pioneer of Belfast” is powered by the revolutionary Artemis eFoiler® system, which enables the prototype to fly over the water, using significantly less energy than a conventional workboat with high-speed re-charging technology also developed.

The Belfast Lough workforce celebrate champagne being broken on the bow of Pioneer as she first took to the waterThe Belfast Lough workforce celebrate champagne being broken on the bow of Pioneer as she first took to the water

Launched from the company’s research and manufacturing facility in Belfast Harbour, the prototype is currently undergoing sea trials to verify its technical capabilities match those from the company’s digital twin simulations, ahead of the launch of Artemis Technologies’ small workboat range next month.

The company which is a spin-off from the Artemis Racing America’s Cup team, has attracted significant UK Government and private investment, and has partnered with Northern Irish organisations on a mission to help deliver a sustainable maritime future.

Iain Percy, double Olympic sailing gold medallist and chief executive of Artemis Technologies said: “It was a truly joyous moment for our dedicated Belfast workforce when the champagne was broken on her bow and Pioneer first took to the water.

“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 centre of green ship-building industry.”

Romain Ingouf, Technical Director of Artemis Technologies, continued:

“We’ve been recording the performance of the workboat against its gasoline powered sistership. 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’.

David Tyler, Commercial Director of Artemis Technologies, commented:

“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.

“We’re now at a crucial time for not only the Artemis Technologies business but for the future of maritime transport. ‘Pioneer of Belfast’ is just the beginning; we have several high-speed zero-emission vessels in development that will transform the commercial workboat and city-to-city passenger ferry sectors over the coming decades.”

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About Electric outboard engines

The direct-drive component in electric outboard engines means that the electric motors are incredibly efficient compared to conventional marine combustion motors, operating with considerably higher torque whilst using less power.

Without any need for gears, cooling systems and moving parts the motors are maintenance free, highly efficient and economic to run.

As a result, electric boat engines are becoming more popular on Irish waters as the world transitions from fossil fuels to green energy.

To date, popular electric engine sizes have been trolling engines typically used by fishermen on lakes.

These marine engines are available in models that can be used in fresh water and sea water, for your boat or kayak.

Electric motors are Ideal for fishermen because they are quiet and create little in the way of disturbance 

Popular electric trolling models range from 30lb thrust to 55lb thrust in a range of shaft lengths.

But use is becoming broader now in 2021 and electric outboard engines are being used on small runabouts and RIBS where electric outboard engine sizes are getting bigger.

Outboard electric engines are economical and environmentally friendly. Battery technology is also improving at a rapid rate meaning they are becoming smaller and lighter and run for longer.

Built in hydro-generation provides alternative recharging options whilst under sail are also options meaning the electric outboard now has a home on the stern on small yachts and dayboats too.

As far back as 2014, Torqeedo owner Jack O'Keefe from Cork Harbour told Afloat readers of his sailing adventures in a Drascombe Coaster dinghy and how after swapping from a petrol version the rewards from his new electric outboard engine are less noise, no smells, more stowage, better sailing performance and a motor that can be started by a small child. But it's still not silent, there's a whine he says here 

Popular brands in Ireland are Torqeedo, ePropulsion, Pulsar and Minn Kota but there are more arriving all the time as the technology advances

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