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Zparq collaborates to build the first emission-free rescue boat

July 12, 2021

The project to build the first emission-free rescue boat is driven by the Swedish Sea Rescue Society and has been possible thanks to the support of the Swedish Postcode Lottery that donated SEK 15 million in 2020. Zparq is working in collaboration with Micropower Group, SSPA Sweden, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Aston Harald, the Swedish Transport Administration and the Swedish Energy Agency to develop and build a demonstrator boat.

The heavily fossil-fuelled transport industry must become greener, and in everything from passenger cars to aircraft, there are both finished products and advanced projects to switch to emission-free use. While there has been progress in the automotive industry, the commercial boating industry in general and rescue boats in particular, have been lagging behind. This project is an initiative for the Swedish Sea Rescue Society and project partners to lead the effort to catch up with such development.

“We will build a smaller lifeboat with an electric motor and retractable support foils. It will be a smooth, easy-to-manoeuvre boat that will be the preferred choice when the sea rescuers go on missions”, said Fredrik Falkman, who works with maritime safety innovation at the Swedish Sea Rescue Society, in a recent press release. “As far as we know, it is the first lifeboat in the world to be emission-free.”

During the past year, the project’s design group has studied the requirements for the new emission free boat. Among other things, the possible range has been investigated, and various alternatives for the hull and propulsion have been sketched. The choice has fallen on battery-powered electric drive and a hull that is lifted out of the water by hydrofoils at cruising speed. The construction means that the friction from the water is reduced making the boat more energy-efficient and maximising the operational range. The next step is to continue developing the design and begin the task of building the prototype towards the end of 2021. The latter should be ready by 2023 and will then be tested and evaluated at a sea rescue station.

EIT InnoEnergy-backed start-up Zparq offers both a high power and highly efficient solution for propeller-driven watercraft. With its compact electric drivetrain, the company will greatly improve the propulsion of the lifeboat without compromising of the choice of hull design. The technology is based on a novel motor design that is specifically adapted to submersible applications. Zparq’s patented passive cooling system allows the motor to be up to 10 times smaller in volume than motors with equal power, which make it the ideal solution in this project.

“Our role in this project is an opportunity to set the standard on high performance marine electric propulsion in the toughest environments. We aim to make the fast, quiet and reliable electric rescue boat the obvious choice for sea rescuers and to demonstrate the viability of the technology for both the commercial and private boating industry,” says Nicholas Honeth, R&D engineer and CQO at Zparq AB.