Expert support from Marine-i is helping Perpetual Research Consultancy develop an advanced charging system for electric vessels which would have a big impact on marine operations.

Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Marine-i aims to help the marine technology sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly grow, by harnessing the full potential of research and innovation.

The director of Perpetual Research Consultancy, Dr Mike Taylor, explained: “Wireless charging is already employed for electric vessels, whether they are crewed, remotely operated or fully autonomous. We believe that this technology could be greatly improved by devising a way of using VHF frequencies for wireless charging. This would deliver order of magnitude increases in power transfer, and lead to vastly reduced charging times.”

Being aware of the type and scale of the research work that would be needed to kickstart this project, the company engaged with the Marine-i team for support in this process.

Dr Taylor said: “Having access the leading-edge research available through the Marine-i project was a huge asset for this project. Working with technology experts at University of Plymouth, we devised a three-stage development process.

“The first step was to carry out experiments on different wire coil configurations and thoroughly evaluate their performance characteristics. Next was a feasibility study to determine the requirements of impedance matching networks for the new system. The final stage identified procurement costs for the key components, so we could estimate the production of cost of the system when manufactured at scale.”

Marine-i programme director, Prof Lars Johanning, said: “Perpetual Research Consultancy should be congratulated for identifying a valuable opportunity in marine technology and taking a systematic approach to its research and development. Electric vessels will play a massive role in future marine operations. A system that delivers faster charging, and therefore quicker turnaround times for vessels, would be a very attractive commercial proposition for operators. This unique new technology would therefore have a massive global market.”