Ambitious shipbuilding plan wins early-stage funding
A bid from a team in Belfast to return commercial shipbuilding to the city has won funding from a major research and innovation programme.
The plan, led by Artemis Technologies, has won early-stage funding from UK Research and Innovation's Strength in Places fund.
The consortium behind the bid aims to fast-track the prototyping of a new class of vessel and sub-systems, including a wind/electric hybrid, named the Autonomous Sailing Vessel (ASV).
Artemis Technologies CEO Iain Percy 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 products developed by Artemis Technologies in Belfast using wind and other energy recovery systems.
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Initial discussions with potential customers have indicated a range of applications, from a city-to-city passenger ferry to a defence reconnaissance vessel.
Each of the shortlisted projects from the first wave of the fund has been awarded up to £50,000 in early-stage funding, which will allow applicants to develop full-stage bids.
The strongest projects will receive between £10m and £50m.