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RAD Propulsion Highlights Innovative Marine Technology at Electric & Hybrid Marine Expo 2024

Innovative solutions for decarbonization and efficiency take center stage in Amsterdam

RAD Propulsion, a pioneering force in sustainable marine technology, made waves at the Electric & Hybrid Marine Expo held in Amsterdam from June 18-20, 2024. As the world's premier event for maritime electrification and decarbonization solutions, the Expo provided an ideal platform for companies to demonstrate its cutting-edge products designed to revolutionize the marine industry.

Established by a team of UK engineers and tech entrepreneurs, RAD Propulsion aims to significantly reduce carbon emissions through their advanced, quieter, and user-friendly marine propulsion systems. The company's flagship product, the RAD 40, exemplifies their commitment to efficiency and sustainability, offering a practical solution for both leisure and commercial marine operators.

TechNews180 attended the event and caught up with Sam Pickering, the head of products at RAD Propulsion, for an insightful interview. During our conversation, Pickering delved into the unique features and advantages of their marine systems. He highlighted the RAD 40's ability to decarbonize operations while cutting long-term costs through reduced maintenance and fuel expenses. Pickering also emphasized the system's superior performance compared to conventional combustion engines, thanks to its low RPM, high torque electric motor, and enhanced maneuverability. He further discussed the ease of integrating RAD Propulsion's solutions into existing vessels and the company's robust technical support network, ensuring seamless adoption and ongoing customer satisfaction.

Neil Hodgson-Coyle: How does your system address the specific needs of marine operators?

Sam Pickering: The product is aimed across both leisure and commercial industries. There are thousands of work boats in the 60 to 100 horsepower engine capacity operating at marinas and ports, and often boats in this power range don’t go very far over the course of the average day - just out and back to the dock. So the RAD 40 is the perfect application to help those users, not only decarbonize their operations, but also to save running costs. We’ve got data to suggest that while the upfront costs are slightly higher than for a traditional outboard engine, over the product’s life span you will reduce maintenance costs, fuel costs, and long-term operational costs. So efficiency, decarbonizing, reducing costs, reduce the effort and maintenance that you have to put into your operations in the water.

Neil Hodgson-Coyle: How does general performance compare to conventional systems?

Sam Pickering: So, this is an interesting one. This RAD40 is a 40 kW electric drive, so that is equivalent to around 60 horsepower. We would like to replace a 60 horsepower (or similar) combustion engine with a 40 kW outboard, however, with electric it's quite different. We spin at a very low RPM, and we can spin a larger prop with the high torque of an electric motor across the RPM range, rather than having to spin at a higher RPM to generate the torque, so we’re able to spin a larger propeller at a lower RPM and generate efficiency, meaning your power lasts for longer. Also, for some of those operations we discussed before, the larger prop allows electric to do things you couldn’t possibly do before with a petrol boat. Not only that of course, with the RAD40 you’ve got 180 degree steering, and maneuverability that allows the user to better control their boat and improve their operational efficiency.

Neil Hodgson-Coyle: I guess the battery means it's naturally a lot quieter then.

Sam Pickering: With the battery electric propulsion system, it's definitely quieter, yes. It's nice to have a conversation whilst you’re going along, certainly for leisure users that's a massive appeal.

Neil Hodgson-Coyle: Could you describe any prerequisites for integrating your system?

Sam Pickering: We tried to make it as simple as possible. The whole RADbus architecture and control system has been designed effectively to be plug and play. Other than a screwdriver to screw the boxes into the mounting points, there are very few tools required. I think the big challenge for any electrification of a vessel is where to mount the battery and how to incorporate the battery onto the vessel. We’ve tried to address that by offering our 21 kWh power package . It can be combined together as well to give variable volumes and modularity. This battery pack is designed around the typical size of a petrol fuel tank, such that, if we took a fuel tank out and put a battery into the space, then you’ve got an electric boat. There are nuances to that, of course. Every boat is different. The best way to do it would be if you had a new design of a boat and you designed it to be fully electric right from the start. However, it definitely can be done without too much hassle to retrofit.

Neil Hodgson-Coyle: What technical support do you offer ?

Sam Pickering: We have a three stage approach, we work with a number of service partners in developing a service network around the world by offering training to a variety of those. Then to enhance that, the system will shortly have connectivity by GSM that gives full telemetry data. Ultimately, we will get to the position where we can tell you something is going to go wrong before it happens. In the meantime we can use telemetry data to diagnose and then a lot of things can be done virtually as long as you have a pair of hands operating at the other end of the screen . The third is, we've got a great team of service technicians based in the UK that are able to help any customers that need help wherever they might be. I’ve supported customers in The Netherlands and Italy recently. We can help with installation and ongoing support.

Neil Hodgson-Coyle: Are there any future innovations you’re working on or looking to introduce in the not so distant future?

Sam Pickering: We have a drive for larger boats in development to be launched in 2025 - RAD 120. This will provide the equivalent of around 150 horsepower.

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