Green-Tech Shipbuilding Investment for Belfast Harbour

Artemis Technologies, a spin-off from America’s Cup team, Artemis Racing, is to open a green-tech research and manufacturing facility in Belfast Harbour.  The project will initially create up to 35 new jobs and aims to return commercial shipbuilding to the city.

The company, led by double Olympic gold medallist, Iain Percy OBE, will use its expertise from international yacht racing to develop new green maritime technologies including the world’s first hydro-foiling and self-regenerating powered commercial vessel, the ‘Autonomous Sailing Vessel’ (ASV).

The ASV will be a zero-emissions, 45 metre catamaran that uses no fossil fuels, offers unlimited range and has the potential to travel at nearly 60 knots, with a cruising speed of 30 knots in any condition.  

Artemis Technologies, Chief Executive, Iain Percy OBE, a veteran of four America’s Cup challenges, says the company has a clear vision:

“We aim to lead the decarbonisation of the maritime industry by building on our America’s Cup heritage and expertise in hydrofoils, wing sails and control systems to develop and manufacture green-powered commercial vessels, helping to ensure a sustainable future.

“The ASV has a variety of applications including city-to-city passenger transportation and it will be the first in a series of commercial sailing products developed by Artemis Technologies in Belfast using wind and innovative energy recovery systems.

“Through collaboration, research and innovation we plan to utilise Belfast’s rich maritime history and the region’s world-class expertise in aerospace and composite engineering to create the UK’s most advanced maritime manufacturing facility.

“The Artemis Technologies’ team already consists of 13 experts from the fields of motor sport, aerospace, yacht design, simulation, electronics and aerodynamics. We plan to share our expertise with Northern Ireland and work in collaboration to growth this sector by delivering innovative yet sustainable maritime products. 

Artemis Technologies’ first research and development project in Belfast will be focused on the electrification of foiling vessels as a precursor to prototyping the ASV, which the company plans to build in Belfast in partnership with local stakeholders.

At a launch event in the Belfast Harbour office, Joe O’Neill, the Harbour’s Chief Executive, said:

“Belfast Harbour is delighted to support such a hi-tech project which complements our plans to further develop Belfast Harbour as an innovation hub.

“Artemis represents another diverse addition to the 700-plus firms already within the Harbour Estate.  This growing community offers high-calibre employment and opportunities which are critical for the economic wellbeing of both Belfast and Northern Ireland as a whole.”

Dave Thompson, General Manager of Northern Ireland Advanced Composites (NIACE) and Engineering, commented: 

“The locating of Artemis’ centre in Northern Ireland is a great endorsement of the technological capability of the region. Artemis is developing products that have the potential to revolutionise sustainable maritime transportation.

“The technologies required to support these developments correspond well with the capabilities and aspirations of our local supply chain. The ASV, and its precursor, will draw on aspects of aerospace, automotive, marine and electrical engineering, in addition to AI, control systems and data security.

“There are a number of innovative advanced engineering firms in Northern Ireland already operating in these areas and they welcome the unique opportunity to work with Artemis.

“Local knowledge providers such as NIACE, QUB and UU are relishing the opportunity to collaborate with the company’s technical team on numerous advanced development activities.”

Ian Percy concluded:

“Under a new international agreement, issued by the International Maritime Organisation, the global maritime sector has committed to cutting emissions by at least half by 2050.

“We believe, given our expertise and the strength of the skills base here in Northern Ireland, that we can position the region at the forefront of helping deliver these targets, by developing new green innovations to assist in the decarbonisation of maritime.”

The company has already received backing and collaborative support from stakeholders including Belfast City Council, Belfast Harbour, Stena Line, Bombardier, Harland and Wolff, Queen’s University, Ulster University, Belfast Met, NIACE, Creative Composites and Catalyst Inc.