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Trans-Atlantic Partnership Between Canadian & UK Companies Seeks to Begin Electric Boating Grid System

The trans-Atlantic partnership aims to develop vessel-to-grid (V2G) infrastructure where commercial boats will both give and receive energy.

One of the most common arguments against the future of electric boating surrounds the challenges of adding infrastructure to support it.

While boat and battery manufacturers continue to make headway with the boats themselves, the lack of charging stations and grid access gas has slowed electric boating's adoption.

A new trans-Atlantic partnership between two infrastructure providers may signal the beginnings of a large-scale electrical grid that could support large-scale adoption for both recreational and commercial boats.

A recently announced a partnership between marine charging point operator Aqua superPower and the vessel-to-grid (V2G) software company BlueGrid is seeking to bridge the metaphorical gap. The two companies, along with several public and private support arms, have announced plans to install bi-directional chargers and electric vessels in both Plymouth, UK and Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, which could provide the foundation for an electric boating grid for both coastal areas.

This £1.8 million ($2.28 million USD) project aims to bring together both UK and Canadian experts towards creating the first trans-Atlantic V2G project for electric boats.

BlueGrid Energy builds vessel-to-grid (V2G) charging technology that allows electric vessels to both give and receive energy. According to the company, it works by making electric boats connect bidirectionally to the grid and "allowing them to charge their batteries when power is greener and inexpensive, and then feed that power back into the electric grid when demand is high."

Aqua superPower, for their part, builds and installs marine charging networks that create easy access points and electrical grids for e-boats. The company began laying the groundwork for installing the first e-boating infrastructure in Canada by adding a string of charging stations in Ontario and Quebec that would allow boaters to travel through a section of the Great Lakes while having access to charging stations at regular intervals.

“International collaboration and innovation are cornerstones of this CanUK project. We are proud to lead the Canadian team and work with our industry-leading UK partners for breakthrough vessel-to-grid deployments on both sides of the Atlantic. Together we will accelerate adoption of electric boats and emissions reductions, creating market opportunity in the process,” said Andrew Boswell, CEO at BlueGrid in a press release.

The Halifax to Plymouth project will entail installations of V2G technology in both vessels and on the mainland. The two major cities, "with their contrasting environmental and operational conditions, will demonstrate the bi-directional energy flow to and from the vessel batteries, highlighting their capacity to perform key energy services and enhance energy security," according to Marine Industry News UK.

Others involved in the design and implementation of the program include RS Electric Boats, RAD Propulsion, COVE Marine Solutions, the University of Plymouth, Lennox Island First Nation, and Dalhousie University in Halifax.

The main objective of the project is to begin developing and installing a "V2G ecosystem" that promotes a clear set of vessel standards, infrastructure needs, battery requirements, and results in a functional "energy market" that can support commercial electric boats on both sides of the Atlantic. The commercial electric markets in both the UK and Canada are essentially untapped, and the coming together of private industry, government grant programs, and university technological prowess creates a solid environment for V2G grid development.

Adam Marshall, chief technology officer at Aqua SuperPower, said in a press release: “Winning our second Innovate UK grant for vessel-to-grid technology highlights our leadership in marine electrification. We’re thrilled to lead the UK consortium and collaborate with our Canadian partners on this groundbreaking transatlantic project, showcasing the potential of bi-directional boat charging in different energy markets and environments.”

As all parties involved begin sharing their technology and methods, the CanUK V2G project hopes to first integrate the new V2G system into RS Electric Boat’s 63kWh workboat, with a focus on battery and drive development to extend the necessary range and capability. RAD Propulsion is already one of the leaders in electric drive technology, having developed an autonomous marine delivery drone capable of delivering supplies or rescue equipment to vessels offshore. #news

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