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Renewable energy to power high-speed foiling ferry

A 100% electric high-speed foiling passenger ferry is to be powered by renewable electricity.

Project Green Iron is a collaboration between Artemis Technologies and Power NI, part of Energia Group.

The trial will capture green energy from an Energia Group wind farm in County Antrim to operate the Artemis EF-24 Passenger ferry’s Belfast to Bangor pilot scheme.

The green energy pilot aims to maximise the use of renewable wind energy being generated in Northern Ireland by better matching times when there is low demand and high wind generation.

The project is part of the work of the Belfast Maritime Consortium which was established to launch the advanced high-speed zero-emission passenger ferry and develop the technical and operational requirements for a maritime transport system of the future.

The consortium is led by Artemis Technologies and brings together 14 partners from across industry, academia and local government – including Northern Ireland’s largest electricity supplier Power NI. It is funded by UK Research and Innovation’s Strength in Places Fund.

The pilot scheme is aimed at showing to the world what is possible with the right maritime infrastructure in place.

The Artemis EF-24 Passenger has been designed with the protection of the environment in mind using the Artemis eFoiler system to allow it to foil, saving on energy requirements.

“We hope this demonstration scheme will prove the concept so that we can develop this further in other parts of the power system to ensure we’re making the most of the renewable electricity available to the system to decarbonise demand.”

Energia Group corporate development manager, Gavin Hickey

Project Green Iron will provide Power NI and Artemis Technologies with a smart grid solution to vessel charging using 100% renewable electricity.

“Project Green Iron seeks to take full advantage of Northern Ireland’s renewable electricity by creating flexibility in vessel charging patterns to shift recharging to align with times when there otherwise would be excess renewable energy and system curtailment,” said Energia Group’s corporate development manager, Gavin Hickey.

“If we can increase demand at times when there is excess renewable energy, this will help in balancing the grid, contributes to grid stability, and reduces the need for fossil fuel-based backup power generation.

“We hope this demonstration scheme will prove the concept so that we can develop this further in other parts of the power system to ensure we’re making the most of the renewable electricity available to the system to decarbonise demand.”

To implement this new solution for the ferry pilot scheme, Power NI will install smart meters and connected sensor devices at Energia Group’s Long Mountain Wind Farm in County Antrim and the Artemis Technologies charging depot in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter.

The two locations will be linked in the cloud to enable real-time simultaneous communication and control over electricity generation and demand.

Professor Katrina Thompson, programme director for the Belfast Maritime Consortium, added: “Once this new scheme has been tried and tested, we hope to expand this technology out to areas of the world keen to operate zero emission vessels where there are difficulties connecting to the electricity grid. That is a very exciting prospect.”

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