Support from Marine-i is helping Falmouth-based business, Openarc Marine, develop a completely new approach to on-board generators for use when cruising under sail.

This hydroelectric technology would have worldwide applications and help to eliminate reliance on fossil fuels for electricity generation at sea.

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

Openarc Marine is focused on developing smart marine energy systems. They develop technologies which reduce and eliminate dependence on diesel and petrol fuelled electric generators. control energy collection and consumption, and harvest free energy from the sea – under sail and from tidal flows.

Openarc Marine director, Jim Shields, explained: “Our innovative new system can generate electricity at very low speeds, when other generators cannot. Because the amount of drag can be controlled, the user can choose to sacrifice speed to generate more electricity if they wish. This degree of control makes our product unique in the marketplace, creating a significant step forward for our industry.”

Openarc Marine engaged with Marine-i to get support in developing an operational prototype of the new system, including the build of a full-size turbine. Marine-i worked with Openarc Marine to develop a programme of activity covering design review, systems design and verification, and prototype testing and analysis.

Prof Lars Johanning, programme director for Marine-i, said: “This is a really exciting innovation from Openarc Marine, which will have global applications in the leisure sailing industry. This project has the potential to make Openarc Marine a world leader with its pioneering approach to hydroelectric generation.”

Openarc Marine director, Mark Basham, added: “Support from Marine-i has given us the opportunity to bring this new technology to market at a much faster rate than would otherwise be possible. We will be carrying out sea trials off Falmouth in Spring 2022 and the product is expected to be launched in 2023.

“From our base in Falmouth, Cornwall, we expect to create new jobs and growth in the local economy, and additional business for the local supply chain. From here, we can take our new technology to a worldwide audience.”