By Dag Pike

Superyacht builder Pendennis Shipyard is part of a team that has been awarded funding to develop a High Efficiency Marine Energy (HEME) project. The funding has come from the British Technology Strategy Board, a government-funded body aimed at supporting the development of new technologies.

A spokesperson for Pendennis commented: “This is a two-year project that is still in its infancy and we cannot release full details yet.”

The aim of the project is to develop a fully optimised hybrid energy system for marine vessels that will use high capacity energy storage. The project is being led by Pendennis with other team members coming from companies that are involved with the shipyard’s supply chain.

Bruntons Propellers will be contributing their propulsion expertise, and Energy Solutions from Rochester in Kent have extensive experience of electrical storage systems, generators and control systems. The fourth member of the project team will be Fowey-based Triskel Marine, which worked with Malo Yachts on developing the award-winning Hallberg Rassy 42 hybrid yacht.

It appears that the high capacity energy storage system could be based around capacitors rather than batteries. This system of energy storage was pioneered by STX in France with an electrically powered ferry that operates successfully with the power stored in capacitors, which are cheaper and more flexible that battery systems.

One of the factors in allocating this research funding to the team led by Pendennis is the fact that the shipyard can offer a direct route to market and it has the potential for a significant economic impact. In addition to the possibilities for powering leisure vessels, an efficient hybrid propulsion system could find application in workboats.