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North Wales innovators trialling revolutionary solar tech on ships in Equatorial waters

L-R: Grafmarine's Nigel Marc Roberts, Martin Leigh, and Chris Russell.

GRAFMARINE is testing revolutionary solar energy cells in Equatorial waters.

Based at M-SParc in Gaerwen, Anglesey, and Manchester, the company is piloting its NanoDeck AI Solar tile management solution in partnership with Carisbrooke Shipping Ltd, which operates a fleet of multi-purpose vessels from offices in Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

Grafmarine Director and Founder Martin Leigh said they have come up with a solution which will support the International Maritime Organisation’s urgent requirements for a cleaner renewable alternative power source to reduce the sector’s substantial impact on the environment due to greenhouse gas emissions.

“NanoDeck challenges the current reliance on fossil fuels by providing a clean and sustainable alternative renewable source of energy which can be attached to any flat surface – in this case, a cargo vessel – to capture, store and remotely manage clean energy generation via AI solar technology,” said Martin.

“It can be fitted to both new and existing vessels, helping the industry on its journey to decarbonise and meet future legislation, whilst further assisting in the global development of smart low-carbon ports.”

Commercial Director Nigel Marc Roberts added: “Our collaborative partnership with Carisbrooke Shipping Ltd will provide us with data that will further develop the system as we continue to forge new relationships in the US, Europe and Asia.

“The system offers unique and innovative ‘plug and play’ technology which enables it to be installed quickly at low cost and upgraded in line with technological advances without the need for large investment, making this a future-proof solution.

“We are excited about the future and look forward to commercialising our first NanoDeck system in 2024 with further investment and sea trials in the future.”

Grafmarine also has test locations in the Celtic Sea via the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapults (ORE) new test buoy at the Marine Energy Test Area (META), as well as a sustainable smart-port platform in the Port of Tyne. They are also reviewing trial opportunities in the Basque region of Spain, the Centre for Applied Ocean Technology Canada and the US-based (NREL) National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

A spokesperson for Carisbrooke Shipping Ltd said: “We are pleased to assist Grafmarine by offering them a test platform where their new NanoDeck solution can collect data during real voyages under differing weather conditions and latitudes.

“During the current voyage from Scotland to West Africa and back the NanoDeck has sent live data, enabling Grafmarine to make further improvements and efficiency gains whilst understanding how the equipment will withstand the rigours of the marine environment.”