Design plans for a 100% electric, zero-emission “flying” ferry have been unveiled.
The EF-24 passenger vessel uses state-of-the-art hydrofoil technology to lift the craft out of the water, allowing it to sail above the waves.
Maritime design firm Artemis Technologies has described it as a “game changer” for the global high-speed ferry market.
Raising the hull above the water dramatically reduces drag, saving up to 85% on fuel costs compared to conventional diesel-powered ferries.
Artemis’ eco-friendly eFoiler technology generates zero emissions as the ferry navigates while producing minimal wake and noise.
Apart from the environmental and economic benefits, the company claims that the hydrofoil also ensures a smooth ride regardless of the water conditions, thus reducing instances of seasickness.
Belfast-based Artemis Technologies is a spin-off of America’s Cup contestant Artemis Racing.
Its founder and CEO, Dr Iain Percy, is a two-time Olympic sailing champion for the British team and a four-time America’s Cup veteran.
The ferry will enter service in 2024, operating a pilot service between Belfast and the nearby town of Bangor.
The 24-meter vessels will be able to carry 150 passengers. The first ferry built will be called Zero.
It will have a top speed of 38 knots and a battery range of 115 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 25 knots.
The ferry, which was officially launched on the global market on Monday, is one of several zero-emission vessels being developed by Artemis Technologies as part of a £60million project to design and manufacture commercially viable green transport solutions for the marine industry.
Earlier this year it launched what it hailed as a “world first” commercially viable hydrofoil workboat.
The Pioneer can now be seen cruising above the waves on Belfast Lough outside the Artemis manufacturing plant in the city’s docks.
Like America’s Cup racing yachts, the technology involves attaching hydrofoil wings to the hull with vertical struts.
Much like an airplane taking off from a runway, underwater wings propel the ship up and out of the water as it picks up speed.
Dr Percy believes Artemis can be a world leader in providing transportation alternatives for congested cities.
“The zero-emissions ferry that will be seen departing from Belfast in 2024, aptly named Zero, will be the first we build at our manufacturing hub in the city, but this is just the start,” he said. .
“Many water-based cities around the world are grappling with the challenge of population growth, congestion and pollution.
“The EF-24 Passenger can provide an out-of-the-box green transportation solution that economically competes with road and rail in places like San Francisco, New York, Venice, Istanbul, Dubai and Singapore – anywhere in the world that is looking for transportation alternatives. sustainable transportation that balances the requirement for people to keep moving with the need to reduce carbon emissions.
“Particularly where new infrastructure is needed such as a new road or a new rail line, this ferry will not only be the cheapest, but also the fastest and least disruptive way to decarbonise transport networks in cities. based on water”.
Artemis has partnered with Condor Ferries to operate the Belfast-Bangor pilot project.
The ferries will be fully accessible, with onboard facilities including bike racks, cabin bag and overhead storage, baby changing facilities and charging stations.
The vessels will also be fitted with a new high-speed collision avoidance system developed in conjunction with technical experts from Queen’s University Belfast.
Artemis leads the Belfast Maritime Consortium, which includes manufacturers, universities and local councils across Northern Ireland.
In 2020, the consortium secured £33 million in research and innovation funding from the UK government, through the Strength in Places Fund, to support its work developing zero-emission ferries.
Artemis is initially creating 125 jobs, but expects to maintain 1,000 new positions over the next decade.
In August, British Prime Minister Liz Truss visited the company’s manufacturing plant and observed the Pioneer workboat on Belfast Lough, during a visit to the city during the Conservative Party leadership race .
Commenting on the design plan for the electric ferry, Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris said: “My congratulations to Artemis Technologies and the Belfast Maritime Consortium for unveiling the plans for this exciting zero-emission vessel.
“I recently visited the Artemis headquarters. I am delighted that they are seizing the many opportunities presented by the development of green transport, which the UK government is committed to supporting through our Net Zero strategy.
“Developing such advanced technology will ensure that Belfast remains at the forefront of maritime innovation while boosting the local green economy.”
John Napton, CEO of Condor Ferries, said: “As the leading operator of passenger ferries, we are constantly looking to explore technologies that will allow us to sail in a more sustainable way and we know that our customers share the same state of mind. ‘spirit.
“Green ships like the EF-24 Passenger ferry perfectly offer this clean alternative to traditional diesel ferries.
“We are delighted to partner with Artemis Technologies and the Belfast Maritime Consortium to develop these vessels from concept to reality over the coming months, and look forward to being the first operator to set sail in 2024 with the Zero Foil. world’s most advanced emission ferry.”