Red Funnel to Launch Emission-Free High-Speed Ferry by 2025

Pioneering all-electric e-foiling vessel set to revolutionize Solent crossings with zero emissions and enhanced passenger comfort


UK ferry operator Red Funnel has confirmed plans to introduce an innovative, emission-free high-speed vessel on its Solent service by late 2025. This groundbreaking vessel is an all-electric e-foiling passenger ferry, developed by Artemis Technologies, marking a significant leap forward in maritime transportation.

Introduced in 2022, the design of this fast catamaran is revolutionary. It rides above the water on three foils, propelled by an all-electric drive capable of reaching speeds up to 36 knots. Artemis Technologies predicts a range of 70 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 25 knots. This electric ferry boasts zero emissions and higher efficiency, promising substantial environmental benefits. Initially, it is projected to save 3,700 tonnes of CO2 annually, potentially increasing to 4,150 tonnes with the use of renewable energy sources.

With a passenger capacity of 150, the hydrofoiling design not only enhances speed but also ensures a smoother ride with minimal vessel motion and reduced wake effects, according to Artemis Technologies.

Red Funnel is one of three ferry operators adopting this cutting-edge technology, though Artemis has yet to name the other companies. The company reported in May 2024 that its first vessels are already under construction.

Artemis Technologies’ first vessel to showcase this hydrofoiling technology is a 12-meter workboat, which has been operational along the Belfast waterfront to demonstrate the concept. Financial grants from the UK government, aimed at promoting green technologies, have supported this venture.

Red Funnel, one of the UK’s oldest ferry operators, traces its origins back to 1861. Today, it transports 3.4 million passengers and 860,000 vehicles annually across the Solent, between Southampton and West Cowes on the Isle of Wight. The company has operated a fleet of high-speed passenger ferries on this route for over two decades. Recently, they announced the sale of Red Jet 4, a vessel built in 2003 by North West Bay Ships in Tasmania. Powered by two MTU diesel engines, each driving an MJP waterjet, Red Jet 4 achieved a service speed of 35 knots and carried up to 271 passengers. It is now destined for an operator in South Korea. Red Funnel continues to operate two other high-speed vessels, Red Jet 6 and Red Jet 7, built in 2016 and 2018, respectively. These passenger ferries complete the 12-mile transit in approximately 28 minutes, while traditional vehicle ferries take around an hour.

The introduction of Artemis Technologies’ electric ferry aligns with global trends toward sustainable maritime transport. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels. Initiatives like Red Funnel’s adoption of electric ferries are crucial steps toward achieving these goals. Furthermore, the European Union’s Green Deal includes measures to support the transition to zero-emission shipping, emphasizing the importance of innovation and technology in this sector.

Artemis Technologies has also entered into a collaboration with DNV (Det Norske Veritas), a leading maritime certification body, to ensure that testing and certification processes meet or exceed international safety regulations. This partnership aims to uphold the highest standards of safety and reliability for the new e-foiling ferries.

Red Funnel will work closely with Artemis over the coming months for testing and sea trials of the vessel. Their high-speed crews will undergo extensive training to prepare for the arrival of the new ferry. This collaboration signifies a major step forward in the maritime industry’s shift towards sustainable and efficient transportation solutions.

The impending launch of Red Funnel’s electric ferry not only represents a milestone for the company but also sets a precedent for the future of ferry operations worldwide. As maritime industries increasingly focus on reducing their environmental impact, the successful implementation of e-foiling technology could pave the way for broader adoption of similar innovations across the globe.

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