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Trailblazing maritime designer eyes link-up with Harland & Wolff

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Artemis Technologies CEO Iain Percy (right) with Adrian Doyle of the Odyssey Trust

Artemis Technologies CEO Iain Percy (right) with Adrian Doyle of the Odyssey Trust

The AC45 sailing near Belfast

The AC45 sailing near Belfast

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Artemis Technologies CEO Iain Percy (right) with Adrian Doyle of the Odyssey Trust

A Belfast high-performance maritime design firm could work with ship repair and engineering firm Harland & Wolff in the future, its chief executive has said.

Iain Percy, a double Olympic gold medallist and chief executive of Artemis Technologies, praised the "skilled labour and incredible facilities" at the historic shipyard, which was recently taken over by InfraStrata plc.

He made the comments at interactive science and discovery centre W5 in the Odyssey as the firm handed over one of the fastest yachts on the planet.

The AC45, a 45-foot foiling catamaran, will form a key component of the redeveloped W5 attraction, which is having a £34.5m refurbishment.

Dr Percy said he was "sure there would be plenty of opportunities" for Artemis Technologies to work with Harland & Wolff. He added: "There is a lot of skilled labour at Harland & Wolff that's been involved in maritime for a long time. The facilities they have are attractive to anyone in the maritime world."

Artemis Technologies is the lead partner in a Belfast consortium that is bidding to revitalise shipbuilding in the city.

If successful in obtaining the UK Research and Innovation Strength in Places Fund, it will see more than £30m in funding go towards the consortium's strategy to decarbonise maritime transportation.

In December the firm announced a joint venture with Denmark's Tuco Marine Group to produce the world's first zero-emissions workboat in Belfast by integrating its new electric eFoiler propulsion system into an 11m carbon fibre vessel.

Dr Percy said 25 people are working on a £5m project that will showcase what is possible before the end of the year. He said this will "dovetail" into a £60m second project that could bring thousands of jobs to Belfast.

"Our technology suits a high speed and passenger-only level, so not hugely heavy vessels," he said.

"We are talking about reducing the drag and cost of operations by 90%.

"That is unheard of in any mode of transportation. If you were saying there's a car that uses 10% of the fuel of any other, then everyone would buy it within a week. It is truly transformative."

Dr Percy said he was loaning the AC45 vessel to W5 in the hope it would inspire the next generation of engineers here.

"I want a kid to come in here and say it's amazing but it doesn't look hard and I can see how they've done that," he said.

"So they walk away thinking engineering isn't something that happens in San Francisco. It can be done here and I can actually see how." He added: "The AC45 yacht, capable of travelling at up to 50 knots, represents part of the journey towards reaching the very pinnacle in high-performance maritime engineering." The exhibition will illustrate the transition of hydrofoiling technology from the America's Cup to zero-emissions transport.

Adrian Doyle of the Odyssey Trust said its arrival marks a "major milestone" for the W5 redevelopment.

"The collaboration with Artemis Technologies is a perfect fit and provides a reminder of the rich maritime heritage of our city while also pointing towards an exciting new future," he added.

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