Press Releases

Aqua superPower and ZENOW's £5.4M Game-Changer for Zero Emission Workboats

Southampton, UK, 14th September 2023 - Marine fast charge network operator Aqua superPower is delighted to announce its technical partnership to the ZENOW (Zero Emissions Network of Workboats) project that received £4.1m in grant funding from the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE) and Innovate UK as part of the Zero Emissions Vessels and Infrastructure competition (ZEVI). ZENOW is a partnership of 15 UK marine businesses and organisations, led by RS Electric Boats. This grant funding brings the total project funding to £5.4 million and effectively marks a step change in zero emission workboat operations, delivering commercial clean maritime technology.

The project will deploy the world's largest network of electric workboats (twenty electric workboats, powered by five new Aqua SuperPower chargers), code them ready for service and then, during and after a three-year period, analyse the data to provide evidence, advice and support for any of the circa 10,000 small harbours and marinas across the world getting ready to switch to electric.

Alex Bamberg, CEO of Aqua superPower, expressed his enthusiasm for the project, stating, "Our participation in the ZENOW project will demonstrate our technology readiness and our ability to deploy the critical and reliable infrastructure required for harbours to service electric boats in a commercial setting. Most importantly, with the data that is collected and the collaboration of the various partners, this project will provide real-use cases and open the market for electric work vessels."

The electric workboats, which include thirteen Pulse 63s, five 7.9m and two 8.9m Cheetah Marine electric workboats, powered by RAD Propulsion’s RAD 40 and RAD 120 drives, will be delivered to ten UK locations by 1 March 2025.  

The project includes a three-year demonstration phase with various partners operating the vessels in representative environments.  Sea trial data will form part of the partners' detailed work to understand and develop how electric boats are used in practice, for example, by providing data on exact duty cycles and usage patterns. This data will enable ZENOW to advise on adopting electric technology in a maritime environment and help shape other geographical electric networks.

"This data will give us, and RAD Propulsion, the know-how to understand how people operate the vessels," says Jon Partridge, CEO of RS Electric Boats. "Electric boats are wanted all round the world, and ZENOW will be able to offer a series of like for like cases, giving people the confidence that electric can work in their environments.

"The network covers a broad sector of commercial work and activities. It's a who's who of leading businesses and operators with four harbours, the RYA (coaching), the Environment Agency and many more. The project has very good representation across the commercial marine sector, which means that not only will we be protecting the marine environment, we'll also be creating blueprints for others in the sector. All harbours, marinas and ports globally will need to transition. They'll be able to use our know-how."

The twenty boats will be connected virtually, with the project's technology partners, RAD Propulsion and Aqua superPower, delivering fleet-wide monitoring systems to collect operational and performance data.  Data analytics will also be published by the University of Plymouth and used to enable partners to enhance their environmental performance, optimise operations, reduce costs, and grow their businesses.

"This project will empower multiple UK workboat users to start their transition to zero emission operations," says Partridge.  "It will enhance and support the market position of UK companies that provide electric boats and their supporting technologies while further strengthening Aqua superPower as the leading charging network in the maritime industry. ZENOW will aid the deployment of RAD Propulsion's scalable family of electric drives and connected digital fleet technology. Put bluntly, it's a game-changer for workboat users."

“RAD Propulsion is delighted to be working with RS Electric Boats as one of the winning ZEVI funding projects," says Dan Hook, CEO RAD Propulsion. "This kind of funding is vital in helping us to accelerate the adoption of zero emission vessels across the UK. It means we can bring together twenty commercial workboats with partners ranging from harbourmasters, universities and government agencies.”

Falmouth Harbour already has four vessels tasked with patrols, supporting novel technologies and scientific work and mooring checks. It'll receive an RS Electric Pulse as part of the project and says that participating will help to demonstrate and build confidence in new clean technology while reducing other environmental impacts such as noise and pollution. More than that, Aqua superPower’s charging solution can be used by a plethora of harbour users such as water taxis, yacht tenders and others.

“We are incredibly excited in Falmouth Harbour by this announcement," says Miles Carden, CEO Falmouth Harbour. "We are working really hard to decarbonise our harbour operations. Reducing our scope one emissions is key to this. We feel that electric propulsion will have a really important role to play in decarbonising smaller harbour vessels utilising lessons learned from the growing EV market. However, there are lots of questions that need to be answered relating to how the vessels will perform in use day to day. The funding from Innovate UK is crucial to accelerate the deployment of these new, clean and green technologies into daily use. The 20 vessels designed and built as a result of this project will start to answer some important operational questions."

Workboat operators involved in ZENOW include:

·             The Environment Agency for river enforcement tasks on the Thames and in East Anglia

·             A group of Harbour Commissioners including Salcombe, Falmouth and Fowey for harbour management operations

·             Urban Truant Power for a foot passenger ferry service to the Isle of Wight

·             Zero Marine Services for construction support and safety standby work, predominantly on the Thames

·             Royal Yachting Association (RYA), the UK's national power boat and sailing body

·             Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy for coaching of all levels (from grassroots to Olympic), event management and safety boat operations.

Urban Truant Power sees being part of ZENOW as a long-term way to develop an electric vessel franchise model. It'll be developing a booking app and digital management tool for electric water-taxi and ferry operations in the meantime.

Other partners include the University of Plymouth, Lloyd's Register, Cheetah Marine International and RAD Propulsion.

ZENOW is part of the Zero Emissions Vessels and Infrastructure competition (ZEVI), which was announced in February 2023, funded by UK Government and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK. As part of ZEVI, the Department for Transport allocated over £80m to 10 flagship projects supported by 52 organisations from across the UK to deliver real world demonstration R&D projects in clean maritime solutions. Projects will take place in multiple locations from the Orkney Isles to the southwest of England.

ZEVI is part of the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emission’s(UK SHORE), focused on clean maritime technologies that can be scaled rapidly to decarbonise the UK’s domestic maritime sector. In March 2022, the department announced the biggest government investment ever in the UK's commercial maritime sector, allocating £206m to UK SHORE, a new division within the Department for Transport focused on decarbonising the maritime sector. UK SHORE is delivering a suite of interventions throughout 2022-2025 aimed at accelerating the design, manufacture and operation of UK-made clean maritime technologies and unlocking an industry-led transition to Net Zero.