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E!115324 DolPOD - Efficient, sustainable and bioinspired electric marine propulsion system

Alternative title: E!115324 DolPOD - Effektiv, bærekraftig og bioinspirert elektrisk marin fremdriftsløsning

Awarded: NOK 4.5 mill.

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Project Period:

2021 - 2023

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Our key objective is to leverage Dolprop’s breakthrough technology to boost SeaDrive’s electric pods’ performance. These pods are among the most efficient and environmentally-friendly modes of maritime propulsion on the market. Yet, they are reliant on legacy propeller technology. As they spin, propellers create small whirlpools that cause up to 37% efficiency losses through a process known as cavitation. Dolprop’s FlukeTech mimics the efficiency of the dolphin’s tail fin and is virtually cavitation-free. Data from prototype tests and simulations conducted with the Fraunhofer Institute indicate that FlukeTech can lead to 20% efficiency increases with respect to propellers. Further, propellers are the main culprit for underwater noise pollution, which severely threatens wildlife. FlukeTech’s dolphin-like movement is 95% quieter than propellers making it less intrusive to marine wildlife. In this project, first, we will optimise each of these components independently, then integrate them and benchmark performance. Finally, the integrated prototype will be piloted, leading to a detailed performance review.

We will develop an ultra-efficient electric maritime propulsion system—DolPOD. The system integrates SeaDrive’s state-of-the-art electric pods with Dolprop’s bioinspired cavitation-free fluke propulsion. Combining SeaDrive’s high energy-to-work conversion efficiency with Dolprop’s minimal-loss fluke propulsion, we’ll introduce a sustainable and affordable alternative to fossil-powered maritime propulsion. This project’s primary outcome will be a new maritime propulsion system. The prototype will integrate SeaDrive’s electric pods—with powers ranging from 3.5 to 30kW—and Dolprop’s bioinspired fluke propulsion element. The resulting system will be suitable for small and medium-sized commercial and recreational vessels.