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UK Hybrid Innovation meets Venice Water Taxis

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UK Hybrid Innovation meets Venice Water Taxis

UK Hybrid Innovation meets Venice Water Taxis

Venice has around 20,000 leisure craft and 550 taxi boats serving 32 million visitors every year.

As most are currently diesel-powered Venice suffers from high levels of air and noise pollution that affects the water, architecture and health of both residents and tourists. Venice is a UNESCO World Heritage city that needs to make changes – and a UK company is offering an innovative hybrid solution.

REAP Systems, a hybrid marine power specialist with experience in advanced propulsion systems, is working with engineers from the University of Southampton. The aim is to create a drop-in hybrid diesel / electric engine that can be installed by any boat builder and retrofitted into all types of boats for leisure, military and commercial applications – including the unique fleet of Venice water taxis.

While ‘Clean & Green’ technology is making good progress in the automotive industry, this revolution has lagged far behind in the marine world. Dr Dennis Doerffel, founder and Chief Technology Officer of REAP Systems said, ‘The marine industry has been caught by a circular argument. There has been nothing that the customers can buy off the shelf – so of course they won't ask for it! At the same time, the big manufacturers are not offering greener solutions as there is no queue of customers.’

COTS - Commercial Off The Shelf Hybrid Solutions

The COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) REAP System utilises the latest diesel engine technology matched with a high-power, compact, efficient electric motor and inverter plus a modern lithium-ion battery and system control unit.

During medium to high speed, the diesel engine automatically takes over. During diesel operation, the electric motor works as a generator, recharging the batteries and pushing the engine into a more efficient operation.

The engine can be 'clutched out' to allow pure electric drive which means no diesel fuel consumption and no vibrations. The electric motor may also assist in reducing exhaust emissions, pollution and noise which are particularly relevant when operating in sensitive environments.

Shock Mitigation and Hybrid Marine Power

Shock Mitigation have pioneered the uptake of Hybrid Marine Power in the professional sector worldwide. John Haynes, Managing Director of Shock Mitigation said, 'We are pleased to support Dennis Doerffel and the team at REAP Systems as they develop innovative approaches to hybrid marine power. Venice is an extraordinary maritime city, boat builders and engineers around the world will follow this with great interest.'

The NEXT GENERATION Hybrid Marine Power WORKSHOP on 27 October 2016, in Southampton, will be relevant to all sectors, especially operators in the growing number of green ports. The hybrid day focuses on innovative power and propulsion, particularly for sub 24 metre vessels. As the objective is to identify efficiency by all means, modular and scalable hybrid concepts are also relevant to larger vessels including offshore supply, crew transfer and patrol vessels.

Dennis Doerffel of REAP Systems will present on 'Developing Hybrid COTS Solutions for Commercial, Leisure and Military Craft.' As REAP Systems are based close to the event attendees will be able to see the boat in action.

Find Out More about Project Venice >

NEXT GEN Hybrid Marine Power WORKSHOP >




The fast moving one day workshop style programme brings together an international group of experts armed with the latest knowledge to identify problems that affect the maritime sector worldwide - and highlight potential solutions!

Professional maritime sectors cannot afford the luxury of going green for the sake of it. New hybrid solutions could reduce fuel and maintenance costs for many operators, other commercial drivers include emission laws. In enclosed waters the toxins from diesel emissions can build up over time. Hybrid diesel - battery - electric systems enable vessels to leave and return to the port in silence, on zero emissions.

The HYBRID WORKSHOP topics are relevant to Workboats, Wind Farm Support, Fishing, Survey Vessels, Pilot Boats, Patrol Boats, Search & Rescue, Superyacht Tenders and the emerging market for Unmanned Surface Vessels. Workshop attendees include Commercial, Professional and Military Organisations, Boat Builders, Equipment Manufacturers, Service Providers and Classification Societies. 

British Engineers Take Up The Hybrid Challenge

REAP Systems have pulled together a consortium of British Engineering firms to develop a 'Clean & Green' hybrid electric engine for both new and existing boats, demonstrating that British Engineering continues to innovate and pioneer technology advances. Doerffel added, 'With this project REAP Systems are kick-starting the on water green revolution starting with Venice Lagoon which is crowded with thousands of boats using diesel engines. Once proven in Venice, we want to roll out the technology globally.'

REAP Systems - The Hybrid Timeline

February 2016:

Acquire 9 Metre (30 Feet) Venice Water Taxi

March to May 2016:

Design Custom Parts

June to July 2016:

Battery / Control Systems / Software Development

August 2016:

Engine Module Assembly / Bench Testing / Prototype Assembly / Commissioning

September to October 2016:

Southampton Launch / Sea Trials / Venice Launch

October to November 2016:

Demonstration / Endurance Testing in Venice

November to December 2016:

Feedback from Taxi Drivers / Visitors / Boat Builders / Venetian Local Authorities

December 2016:

Strip-down Analysis / Improvements / Further Testing / Data Analysis / Review


Production / Roll-out of Hybrid Engine / Development of Variants

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