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PRESS RELEASE: Marine-i helps Cornish company pioneer innovative propulsion system

 A Cornish company is planning a completely new development in electric marine vessels, with the help of a Rapid Innovation Grant from Marine-i.

Whiskerstay Ltd is based in Falmouth and was set up three years ago by Dr Rachel Nicholls-Lee, who is a naval architect with a background in yacht design and marine renewables. She is currently one of the leading experts in electric vessel design working in the South West. Rachel Nicholls-Lee explains:

“There is huge interest in the marine sector for electric and hybrid propulsion systems that can deliver good performance whilst also being quiet and environmentally friendly. However, to date, the pace of development in the marine industry has been relatively slow.

“We have devised a new propulsion solution which would have wide applications for both commercial and leisure marine vehicles, with the potential to reach a massive worldwide market.”

Part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Marine-i was set up to support marine innovation in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Its Rapid Innovation Grant scheme offers 100% grants of up to £2,000 to businesses in order move their idea or innovation to the next level. The grant can be used to purchase services or equipment.

Matt Hodson, Marine Hub Operations Director at Cornwall Development Company, says: “Whiskerstay have come up with a ground-breaking new idea that could open up massive opportunities for local marine tech companies and put Cornwall at the forefront of a new wave of marine propulsion systems. They have a detailed five-year plan for developing and testing their new technology, and we were delighted to be able to help them get this important project underway.”

Whiskerstay will be using their Rapid Innovation Grant to purchase the computer equipment needed to carry out vital system design and simulation work. Rachel Nicholls-Lee says:

“There is a brilliant marine supply chain here in Cornwall, with all the facilities we need to build and test our new technology. Getting the full support of the expert team at Marine-i together with this crucial grant funding, has provided the perfect kick-start to this exciting project.”

For full details on Marine-i and its Rapid Innovation Grant scheme, visit