Marine-i, the EU funded programme set up to boost marine innovation in Cornwall, has made a grant award to a Falmouth-based company, Kiote. This company specialises in innovative marine designs and has devised a new concept in sail technology which could have a massive worldwide market.
Kiote’s Managing Director, George Dadd, explains: “Over recent years there has been an explosion in the use of unmanned, autonomous surface vessels to carry out a wide range of tasks at sea, such as surveying and exploration. However, these vessels have to stay at sea for very long periods of time, which places huge demands on their power systems.
“To date, few people have seriously considered the addition of sails to these craft, as it was always assumed that this would make them too unstable and likely to capsize. At Kiote, we have devised a technological solution to this challenge – a sail system that can propel an autonomous vessel very effectively while also providing excellent stability, even in rough seas. The potential commercial benefits of our system are huge: it could be automatically controlled and offer zero-fuel, long-range, high-speed propulsion for a wide range of vessels.”
To move to the next stage of development, Kiote need to conduct extensive computer modelling of the concept to prove its full potential, prior to moving on to develop a working prototype. This led them to apply for a Rapid Innovation Grant from Marine-i, a project which is part funded by European Regional Development Fund and is designed to help accelerate innovation within the marine sector.
Marine-i Project Leader, Professor Lars Johanning, says: “We were impressed with the innovative thinking that has gone into this solution and the meticulous plan that Kiote have mapped out for its development. Not only does it have the potential to put Cornwall at the forefront of a completely new field of marine propulsion, it could also provide a valuable stream of skilled development work for local marine businesses and suppliers.”
George Dadd adds: “The funding from Marine-i has been invaluable in helping Kiote to move forward with crucial research for this exciting project. It is great to have the support of a group of people who really understand marine technology and the challenges faced by businesses like ours. I look forward to drawing further on the expertise and advice of the Marine-i team as the project develops.”
Further information about Kiote can be found at www.kiote.com
Businesses seeking support from the Marine-i project can register their interest at www.marine-i.co.uk