The world’s first commercially viable workboat that ‘flies’ above the water using electric-powered hydrofoils has launched in Belfast today. 

As part of a government-backed initiative, Artemis Technologies has developed an eFoiler propulsion system for its workboats.

A six-passenger vessel – with a range of 60 miles – will be officially launched later.

A 12-passenger boat was also designed and built in Belfast.

The company says the workboats can be recharged in one hour, create little wake and are the first commercially-viable crafts of their kind.

They can be used for port operations and to transfer crews.

The eco-friendly vessels deploy the same foiling technology used by America’s Cup racing yachts, with hydrofoil wings attached to the hull with vertical struts.

Much like a plane taking off on a runway, the underwater wings drive the workboat up and out of the water as it picks up speed.

That enables the craft to travel almost silently with its hull raised above the waves – thus reducing drag, and operating costs, dramatically.

The company currently employs 60 people and has plans to create 1,000 jobs in the next decade as it further develops its range of green transport solutions.

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