Artemis Technologies, a spin-off from America’s Cup team Artemis Racing, is to establish a new facility in Belfast Harbour, initially creating 35 jobs, in a bid to return commercial shipbuilding to the city.
The company led by double Olympic gold medalist, Iain Percy OBE, will use its expertise garnished at the highest echelons of world yacht racing to develop new green maritime technologies and build an ‘Autonomous Sailing Vessel’ (ASV).
The ASV will be a zero-emissions 45 metre catamaran, that will require no fossil fuels, offer unlimited range, and has the potential to travel at 50 knots, with a cruising speed of 30 knots in any condition.
Artemis Technologies, Chief Executive, Iain Percy, a veteran of four America’s Cup challenges, most recently as Team Manager and Tactician of Artemis Racing says the company has a clear vision:
“We aim to lead in 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 maritime future.
“The ASV has a variety of applications including City to City passenger transportation and will be the first in a series of commercial maritime products developed by Artemis Technologies in Belfast using the 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 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 with stakeholders to grow this sector by delivering innovative yet sustainable maritime products.”
At today’s launch in the historic offices of Belfast Harbour, with Artemis Racing’s AC45f America’s Cup yacht moored in the channel outside, Iain Percy set the context and outlined the plans for Artemis Technologies. He said:
“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.”
Already the company has received the 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; and is the lead applicant on a UK Research and Innovation, Strength in Places funding call.
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, said: “I am delighted to attend the launch of Artemis Technologies in Belfast Harbour and support their ambition to research and develop a zero-emissions shipbuilding facility.
“It’s fantastic news that the company has chosen Belfast to build a 45 metre passenger vessel using a design based on the America's Cup catamaran yacht. To begin there will be 35 high-skilled jobs created but a clear ambition to expand rapidly.
“Building on Belfast’s rich history of shipbuilding and combined with our current world-class expertise in technology and engineering, Artemis will collaborate with local universities and the aerospace sector to help kick-start a modern, shipbuilding resurgence in the city.
“This is brilliant news for Belfast and another example of a world-class company choosing Northern Ireland as the best place to invest, innovate and grow a world-class workforce.”
Joe O’Neill, Chief Executive of Belfast Harbour, 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 and Engineering said: “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.”
Donal Lyons, Chair of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee said: “I’d like to welcome Artemis Technologies to Belfast – its vision for green innovative growth will, I am certain, capture the imagination of all our citizens. I’m delighted to see further investment that brings jobs creation and a boost to the local economy.
“Artemis is one of the success stories from the council’s City for Investment Service which provides a ‘soft landing’ for businesses to tap into council networks and get marketing, employability and skills support.
“Through the Belfast Agenda and our proposal for a City Region Deal, Belfast City Council is committed to accelerating innovation and research whilst enhancing the skills and employability of its people. Not only will Artemis Technologies help deliver these objectives, but its presence will inspire young people that such world-leading technology is being developed on their doorstep and they can play a part.”