Teignbridge Propellers received a £3m grant to research propeller efficiency last year with much of the work to be carried out from a new vessel due to be launched later this summer.
The grant to Teignbridge Propellers from the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) comprised 50% from industry finance and 50% from the UK Government and will enable the company to look for energy and CO2 savings of 8% in the UK’s heavy-duty vessel fleet.
Testing of a range of propellers for various vessels is due to begin in the Autumn. And while initially this will be for ships, the efficiencies will inevitably filter down to the pleasure industry says Teignbridge Propellers MD Mark Phare.
“The tools that we will acquire, CFD and programmes will have benefits for all our production,” he said. “We’ll be looking at optimising our propellers and the spin-off benefits will follow through the range.”
He added: “There is ever increasing pressure on significant energy consumers to reduce carbon emissions. This coupled with rising energy costs is driving innovation in the shipping industry and specifically improvements in propulsion efficiency.”
And he explained how the work will take place over a two-year period following criteria laid out including compliance work and research.
“We’ll be looking at composites, carbon fibre, structural integrity, where the design will deliver what we want it to do,” he said.
The vessel chosen by Teignbridge Propellers for the testing is a purpose designed 14m catamaran with a centrally located engine and a retractable pod drive, capable of testing a range of propellers from slow speed with high bollard pull, to high speed in excess of 40 knots. Much of the testing will use full size prototypes with all aspects of propeller geometry examined and tested to establish optimum propeller efficiency and design.