Belfast tech start-up in running for slice of £50m fund

Artemis Technologies shortlisted by UK body for zero-emissions autonomous sailing vessel

Double Olympic gold medallist and Americas Cup veteran Iain Percy (left) who is also chief executive of Artemis Technologies. Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye

Double Olympic gold medallist and Americas Cup veteran Iain Percy (left) who is also chief executive of Artemis Technologies. Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye

 

Artemis Technologies, the start-up aiming to develop a new zero-emissions shipbuilding centre in Belfast, has secured early-stage funding which could help it access up to £50 million from the UK government.

The Belfast and Cambridge University-based company has been shortlisted by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) body to apply to its Strength in Places Fund.

The Artemis Technologies Belfast project is one of just 24 projects from across the UK – and the only from the North – to receive £50,000 in early-stage funding from UKRI to develop a “full stage bid” for financial support from the fund.

The UK research body said it expected to receive all of the bids by late 2019 and it would then select four to eight of the strongest projects to receive between £10 million to £50 million each.

Maritime sector

Iain Percy, chief executive of Artemis Technologies, said the £50,000 funding is a confidence boost for the Belfast project. “We strongly believe this project will be an economic game-changer for Northern Ireland by placing the region at the very heart of the revolution of the maritime sector,” he said.

According to Mr Percy, Artemis Technologies wants to develop an autonomous sailing vessel (ASV) that will be a zero-emissions, 45m-long catamaran with an unlimited range and with the potential to travel at 50 knots.

The company’s ultimate vision is to create the “UK’s most advanced composite design and manufacturing facilities in Belfast Harbour” and it hopes that the ASV will be just one of a “series of commercial maritime products” developed in Belfast using wind and innovative energy-recovery systems.

It says it has already held preliminary discussions with a number of potential customers and feedback, according to Artemis Technologies, suggests its proposed ASV could be used in a number of different ways, from a city-to-city passenger ferry to a defence reconnaissance vessel.