Ecomar Propulsion Ltd is based in Fareham on the South Coast of the UK and was first registered in 2019. Ecomar Propulsion Ltd is involved in the research, development and production of high performance electric and hybrid hydrogen marine propulsion systems.
Their team of highly skilled engineers and technical experts are working to reduce global emissions by creating high efficiency, high output marine engines and energy storage solutions. The company only works with fully clean electric systems to allow current vessel owners the opportunity to seamlessly transfer to clean marine or new build yards to offer electric vessel options.
Ecomar Propulsion produces two products for clean marine vessels; outboard systems and inboard systems powered by battery and hydrogen with a company aspiration of removing 10 million tonnes of toxic exhaust fumes from the marine environment within 10 years.
In 2021 the company increased its workforce to 8 staff and then to 12 by Jan 2023, with further expected growth. The company has been recognized with several awards from the Maritime UK (Solent) Clean Marine Innovator and Maritime UK Diversity Champion Finalist 2022 through to SETSquared University Network Award for Environmental Impact 2022.
The business challenge for Ecomar Propulsion arose when their manufacturer of hydraulic rams in the Far East ceased supply of their products. This left a significant challenge for Ecomar Propulsion but also an opportunity for the company to look at developing their supply chain within the UK. Another requirement was to ensure the materials being used are as environmentally sustainable as possible from a circular economy perspective.
Scottish Enterprise introduced Ecomar Propulsion to NMIS, and as a result of their interest in developing a Scottish supply chain and bringing production to Scotland to overcome a global supply chain issue of electric outboard motors, they were eligible to apply for the Inward Investment Catalyst Fund to support activity. The Inward Investment Catalyst Fund supports businesses not yet located in Scotland but seeking to establish stronger ties with academia here. As well as funding the research and development it provides an opportunity for the company to establish relationships and give insight into other aspects of the Scottish landscape, such as further investment opportunities, supply chains and the skills base to strengthen the case for investing in Scotland.
The teams at NMIS and University of Strathclyde developed their understanding of the design and manufacturing parameters to find replacement components that would be robust enough for the extreme demands of the marine environment. Research and outreach were carried out with companies specializing in hydraulic production in Scotland. Further discussions with selected companies are taking place to develop future alternatives to current suppliers in order to close the gap in the market and provide consistency of supply.
The Next Steps
This project has allowed Ecomar Propulsion to better understand the work of NMIS and the University of Strathclyde and how the skills of the teams can allow Ecomar to plan further growth in Scotland and engage with the wider available supply chain.
Whilst an immediate supplier for marine hydraulic rams was not found, the team have introduced Ecomar Propulsion to several companies which they would not have met had they not taken part in this project. Through meeting senior members of the academic community, potential further opportunities have been identified to explore additional supply chain introductions and manufacturing routes in Scotland for Ecomar Propulsion’s full product range.
Continued collaboration will be facilitated with the Head of Electrification Manufacturing Programmes at NMIS, and allow Ecomar Propulsion and NMIS to engage with Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise in relation to future facility planning and supply chain partnerships. Additionally, opportunities will be aligned with the University of Strathclyde’s strategic direction in electrification manufacturing, notably in PEMD (power electronics, machines and drives) through DER-IC Scotland (Driving the Electric Revolution Industrialisation Centre), ensuring that expansion of capabilities is informed and driven by industry requirements.
This project benefitted from the Scottish Inward Investment Catalyst Fund. The Scottish Inward Investment Catalyst Fund launched by Interface and the Scottish Government promotes Scotland as a leading destination for inward investment and supports businesses not yet located in Scotland but seeking to establish stronger ties with academia here. As well as funding research and development it provides an opportunity for the company to establish relationships and give insight into other aspects of the Scottish landscape, such as further investment opportunities, supply chains and the skills base to strengthen the case for investing in Scotland.
Subsea Expo is the world’s leading annual subsea exhibition and conference, held annually at P&J Live in Aberdeen, and also includes the industry’s prestigious awards ceremony, the Subsea Expo Awards.
The exhibition and conference are completely free to attend.
The exhibition is a quality-focused event showcasing the capabilities, innovations and cutting-edge technologies of the underwater sectors, with over 185 exhibitors and 6,500 delegates attending the latest show.
The conference runs multiple parallel sessions and attracts a broad range of experts to discuss the challenges facing the industry, new and transformational technologies, digitalisation, clean energy and the path to net zero, among other topics.
The Subsea Expo Awards dinner is an opportunity to join friends, colleagues and peers in celebrating the accomplishments of the industry’s standout individuals and companies and is held at P&J Live in Aberdeen.
Subsea Expo is organised by the Global Underwater Hub.
The state of the art anode material used in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells is the Ni/YSZ ceramic-metal (cermet) composite (where YSZ = Y2O3/ZrO2) which has several difficulties in use. The anode is prepared as NiO/YSZ, and must be reduced to Ni/YSZ to work: this entails a large volumetric shrinkage, which can cause the cells to crack. Ni is a good catalyst for cracking hydrocarbon fuels, but tends to produce solid carbon, which then blocks the electrode, lowering performance and effective working life. The metallic Ni phase is also mobile and tends to sinter over time, again lowering performance.
Our technology overcomes these problems while achieving a comparable electrochemical performance, electrical and catalytic properties (significantly better when used with methane fuel). The new perovskite anode shows better tolerance to hydrocarbon fuels, without depositing carbon on the electrode. The perovskite anode can withstand more repeated cycling than a Ni/YSZ anode.
- As effective as existing materials but without the problems such as cell cracking and reduced effective working life.
- Redox stable – no cracking on cycling.Highly tolerant of hydrocarbon fuels.
- Resistant to carbon deposition.No need for initial cell reduction.
- The perovskite anode can be used in any Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) instead of Ni/YSZ, where redox stability or hydrocarbon use is needed. This covers most applications of SOFCs.
- The University would welcome enquiries from commercial parties interested in developing commercial applications of fuel cells and fuel cell materials.
The University of St Andrews has granted patents in Japan, USA, Canada, China, Australia and Europe (GB, France, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Austria and Germany) and continues to perform R&D in advanced materials for fuel cells. The University is looking for a licensee to the patents and knowhow or a commercial collaborator to take it to market. Patent Numbers: PCT/GB2003/003344, Granted patents: US 7,504,172 , Europe 1532710. Additional information can be made available under a confidentiality agreement.