For the last eight years, the self-confessed “maritime obsessive” has been focused on creating environmentally sustainable, electric and hybrid hydrogen propulsion systems for boats.
Eugene began by creating fuel-cell batteries “out of cast-offs lying around in sheds” and reconditioning old engines and propellers; putting them all together, armed with a soldering iron in one hand and “a lot of bruised fingers” on the other.
Now the company is designing inboard and outboard motors for boats ranging from eight metres in length up to 46m long commercial craft; to be fitted by German, British and Danish boat builders from next year.
Eugene’s first client is based in the Maldives, and will shortly take delivery of a shipment of outboard motors to install on boats carrying tourists between the mainland and remote islands. Use of zero emission boats is apposite for the low-lying archipelago, given the threat of rising sea levels due to the climate crisis.
Ecomar Propulsion was part of a maritime decarbonisation group welcomed on to the Transport Research and Innovation Grants programme in 2021, and was invited to join Connected Places Catapult’s Maritime Accelerator last year.
“In one sense we were quite mature as a company, but we needed help to make connections. The Catapult also provided useful third party oversight of what we do.”
Eugene adds that the Catapult helped “to open doors” and make introductions to senior decision makers in Government. “We took part in a conference in Newcastle in March which helped to give us more credibility and raise our profile.”