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Glas Ocean Electric Announces Big Funding Boost for Navigation App, Hybrid Electric Drive

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Glas Ocean Electric, a Halifax-based company specializing in "electric propulsion and AI-enabled navigation to reduce maritime carbon emissions," has announced two funding infusions to develop projects that will increase efficiency and decrease emissions on the water.

The United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded Glas Ocean a grant to develop a smart tracking app that will allow boat owners to see and optimize - down to the detail - the energy usage of a vessel. There are many things that impact the energy usage of a boat: wave height, current, growths on the hull, wind, gusts and more. It is impossible for somebody (a captain, for example) to keep track of it all and tune a boat's throttle to the best energy-consumption sweet spot. That's what Glas Ocean's PerforMarine app aims to do.

"You've got so many factors that are impacting how this boat is performing," says Glas Ocean President and CEO Sue Molloy, "so we decided to add machine learning." Hundreds of hours of data has been fed into a software model so the app can track (and predict) a boat's energy use as it travels. "It's like a fitbit for your boat," says Glas Ocean President and CEO Sue Molloy, "you will be able to manage your expectations and plan around how your boat is impacted by weather." The app can predict the cost of a day on the water, and will show at the end of a day the rates and totals of energy consumption. The app will help users maximize range for electric battery-powered motors and save money and emissions for fossil fuel-powered motors.

Drawing of the HyMarine system's belt setup

Glas Ocean was also recently awarded $2 million in funding from Ocean Zero LLC to develop and make accessible their Hybrid Marine system. The system is designed to piggyback on existing diesel engines and enable the operator to switch to electric power while on the water. It can easily be added to the existing drive line of a diesel-powered boat. The boat owner saves money and emissions are reduced. It can work on fishing boats, tour boats, passenger shuttles, "anything up to the size of the Halifax ferries," says Molloy.

Work on an early HyMarine conversion

The next generation of the kit, smaller and more compact than the first, is available to order now.

Glas Ocean's first electric hybrid conversion, Alutasi: the first boat in Canada approved by Transport Canada operated by Lithium ion batteries.

With concerns over environmental impact and a growing emphasis on eco-friendly alternatives, the maritime industry has been under increasing pressure to adopt sustainable practices. Glas Ocean Electric's hybrid electric propulsion system represents a leap forward in this regard. The PerforMarine app will show—to both boat operators and data collectors—what will be saved in the process. Glas Ocean is encouraged by the interest they've attracted. "It's been fantastic having an investor that believes in what you're doing," says Molloy.


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