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Future Outboards Run Conventionally and Electrically

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FORCE (Future Outboards Run Conventionally and Electrically)

Reporting period: 2014-11-01 to 2015-04-30

Waterborne transport still offers an enormous potential for pollution reduction and energy efficiency gains. The reduction of pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions is far removed from the progress made in road transport, particularly in the category of older, small to medium-size vessels which make up a large proportion of intra-European waterborne transport, including inland navigation. Scope of FORCE project is to evaluate the technical and commercial feasibility of a new hybrid marine propulsion system, aimed at combining the conventional mechanical powertrain with a commercially affordable and technically effective electric drive train, which is able to increase the overall efficiency of outboards below 50 kW power for both, professional and leisure utilization, allowing zero emission navigation in sensitive areas as for instance near to the coasts, protected areas, marinas or inland waters. The objectives of the FORCE project are very ambitious and innovative, since an outboard able to combine conventional with electrical drive (constituting in fact a hybrid propulsion system) does not exist yet in the market. The technical and commercial feasibility study will be developed verifying the technological/practical as well as the economic viability of the proposed innovative propulsion system and will include an elaborated business plan.
This technical and commercial feasibility study has been developed to verify the technological/practical as well as the economic viability of the proposed innovative propulsion system and will include an elaborated business plan. This study addresses the following activities: a technical feasibility study, assessment of risks, a market study, Intellectual Property (IP) management including a deeper professional patent research and analysis. Since the results of the proposed feasibility study are positive, the consortium foresees to submit a proposal in phase 2 of the SME Instrument in order to establish a solid high-potential innovation project aligned to the partners’ growth strategies and with a European dimension.
The objectives of the FORCE project are very ambitious and innovative, since an outboard able to combine conventional with electrical drive (constituting in fact a hybrid propulsion system) does not exist yet in the market.
FORCE ambitions can be summarised as follows:
• Realisation of a pure electric drive, at zero pollutant and noise emissions for navigation in restricted or protected areas like near to coasts, marinas or internal waters;
• No compromises in terms of max. available power, since the internal combustion engine remains “as it is”;
• Possibility to navigate also in unrestricted areas with no penalties compared to conventional outboards;
• Improved overall efficiency, reduced fuel consumption and running costs;
• Plug-in functionality: possibility to recharge the battery from an external source (i.e. from the service post near to the mooring);
• Possibility to recharge the batteries during the operation, “braking” the internal combustion engine, in case of low battery state of charge (regeneration function);
• Low voltage (according to IEC 60038), with very low risk in terms of operation hazard possibilities and simplicity in terms of service and maintenance;
• Utilisation of available technology (i.e. automotive), reducing development time and costs;
• Robust Human Machine Interface to control the electric drive, aimed to allow an easy installation on the boat;
• Increased overall safety, having an additional independent power train in case of failure of the conventional internal combustion engine (redundancy); this could mean, in most cases, to avoid the necessity to have an auxiliary outboard on the boat;
• Very flexible and not intrusive architecture with potential, but also for retrofitting existing units.
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