Clean maritime: green solutions for leisure and commercial craft

Electric outboard motor

Credit: RAD Propulsion

A revolutionary new boat design offers ultra-efficient decarbonisation solution for leisure craft and water taxis thanks to grant funding win.

A small marine-focused business consortium is aiming to fill a gap in the leisure craft and water taxi markets with an innovative range of zero-emission electric boats.

The Ultra-efficient Electric Boats and Drive System – Leisure and Water Taxis project is being led by Optima Projects partnering with RAD Propulsion, Fawley Waterside and Red Funnel.

Hull design reduces energy usage

The boat features a unique hull design, created by Optima, that not only greatly reduces energy consumption but also provides a safer and more comfortable travel experience than a conventional hull shape.

The boat’s range under battery power could be up to 200 miles, a significant improvement on standard electric boats.

The computer-modelled hull structure will be made of fibre-reinforced polymer to minimise weight, maximise efficiency and reduce costs.

A new lightweight, compact, and energy-efficient pod drive, developed by RAD Propulsion, will fit inside the hull, providing the craft with additional space and greater manoeuvrability.

The funding will enable the team to build a new 10 metre demonstration version of the boat that will be suitable for both leisure and commercial activities and to develop a larger 12-meter version with twin drives.

Important asset to a new town

Fawley Waterside is a new town being built at the entrance to Southampton Water. The location has limited access by road which makes the introduction of a reliable, cost-effective, and zero-carbon water taxi service important to the success of the development.

Southampton to Isle of Wight ferry operators, Red Funnel, are also involved in the project as potential future users.

Project Manager and Optima’s Managing Director, David Kendall, said:

This project represents a major advance in sustainability in both the Solent region and in the marine industry as a whole.

We’re investigating options for the boats to be manufactured, stored and maintained at Fawley Waterside which would bring new high-value jobs to the area and establish new businesses with significant growth and export potential.

About the project

The Ultra-efficient Electric Boats and Drive System – Leisure and Water Taxis project is part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition round two (CMDC2).

Part of the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emission’s (UK SHORE), which was launched in May 2022.

CMDC is funded by the Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.

As part of the CMDC2, over £14 million was allocated to 31 projects. Supported by 121 organisations from across the UK to deliver feasibility studies and collaborative research and development projects in clean maritime solutions.

The Clean Maritime video playlist is available on Innovate UK’s YouTube channel.

Last updated: 16 March 2023

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