VESSEL REVIEW | Pioneer of Belfast – Northern Ireland tech firm develops electric foiling workboat

Photo: Belfast Maritime Consortium

Belfast, Northern Ireland-based marine technology company Artemis Technologies has completed development of a 100 per cent electric, high-speed foiling workboat prototype.

The aptly named Pioneer of Belfast was designed and built to include the production specification drivetrain, battery, and flight control components consumers will eventually see in finished workboats in the same product range. Development of the craft was partly funded by the UK government.

The 11.5-metre craft is powered by Artemis’ proprietary electric foil system. This installation enables the prototype to fly over the water, using significantly less energy than a conventional workboat with high-speed re-charging technology also developed. Charging can be completed in as little as one hour.


The boat was designed to be capable of achieving a top speed of over 34 knots and a range of 60 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 25 knots with the aid of the foiling installation, which Artemis said is based on the integration of a high-power density electric drivetrain into an autonomously controlled hydrofoil. High-speed sailing is possible without generating any wake or wash, resulting in minimal disruption to the water surface and the surrounding area including shorelines, wildlife habitat, and even anchored vessels.

Integration of the drivetrain into the T section of the foil underwater removes the requirement for a driveshaft in the vertical structure. Artemis said this not only increases efficiency of the mechanical system, it means that the foils are highly efficient, thus generating no wake even when operating at high speeds. Since the electric drivetrain is fully submerged, the hydrofoil installation also generates significantly reduced noise and eliminates occupants’ fatigue.

Launched from the company’s research and manufacturing facility in Belfast Harbour, Pioneer of Belfast is currently undergoing sea trials to verify whether its technical capabilities match those from the company’s digital twin simulations.

Development of the foiling workboat prototype is part of an initiative that seeks to introduce high-speed, low-emission passenger ferries and crewboats on a wider scale in the UK. Each of the ferries will utilise a similar foiling arrangement.

Photo: Artemis Technologies

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Pioneer of Belfast
Type of vessel:Demonstrator workboat
Builder:Artemis Technologies, UK
Length overall:11.5 metres
Propulsion:Artemis Technologies
Maximum speed:34 knots
Cruising speed:25 knots
Range:60 nautical miles

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