Ambitious ‘return to commercial sailing’ plan gets boost

Initial discussions with potential customers have indicated a range of applications, from a city-city passenger ferry, to a defence reconnaissance vessel 'Initial discussions with potential customers have indicated a range of applications, from a city-city passenger ferry, to a defence reconnaissance vessel'

A Belfast-based bid led by America’s Cup spin-off Artemis Technologies has received funding for its plans to decarbonise maritime transportation.

The project which was launched in Belfast last October will also return commercial shipbuilding to the city. It 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 £10m and £50m.

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).

The ASV will be a zero-emissions 45m long ocean-going high-performance commercial carbon composite wind/electric catamaran, that will offer unlimited range.

Artemis Technologies is a spin-off from America’s Cup team Artemis Racing. The firm’s Chief Executive, double Olympic gold medalist Iain Percy OBE, said:

“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.”

The bid, named ‘Decarbonisation of Maritime Transportation - a Return to Commercial Sailing’, is one of 24 ambitious projects to receive early-stage funding to develop full-stage proposals.

The ASV will be one of a series of commercial maritime products developed by Artemis Technologies in Belfast using the wind and innovative energy recovery systems.

Initial discussions with potential customers have indicated a range of applications, from a city-city passenger ferry, to a defence reconnaissance vessel.

By Jake Frith

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