Foil-born passenger vessel design promises huge fuel savings

Written by Nick Blenkey
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JANUARY 17, 2019 — Glosten and Bieker Boats have joined forces to bring modern composite hydrofoil technology to the passenger vessel market. The result: An ultra-efficient vessel that requires less than half the installed power of a typical passenger catamaran, resulting in a 50% reduction in fuel consumption. When compared to the latest foil assisted low-wake small passenger vessels, the design achieves three times the passenger miles per gallon. The design team achieved this by combining the proven technologies of ultraefficient hydrofoils, lightweight carbon fiber hull construction, and modern geared propulsion equipment.

The collaboration combines the expertise of the two Seattle firms, drawing on Bieker Boats’ years of experience designing fast foil-born boats and Glosten’s 50 years of designing passenger vessels for public and private clients..

“Our team is thrilled to offer this proven high-speed hydrofoil technology to the passenger vessel sector,” says Glosten Director of Business Development Kenneth Lane. “The reduced energy consumption results in significant emissions reductions per passenger mile and facilitates optional use of plug-in electrical approaches.”

The vessel’s hull is constructed using room temperature cured resin infused carbon fiber with foam cores above the waterline. This results in a significant weight savings over the lightest aluminum construction.

“We are excited to apply modern high-performance composite design and construction to the world of commercial vessels,” says Paul Bieker, Naval Architect, Bieker Boats. “Weight savings and operating cost savings are as closely linked in hydrofoiling craft as they are in aircraft.”

The struts and foils are constructed of high temperature cured carbon fiber laminates, achieving the same strength and stiffness of high strength steel at 20% of the weight. These advancements in foil design and manufacturing can be seen in the latest America’s Cup foiling yachts.

Glosten is recognized for providing innovative solutions to clients’ challenging problems, integrating advanced analysis with practical, experience-based design. Its expertise includes naval architecture, ocean engineering & analysis, marine engineering, electrical engineering, and production engineering.

Bieker Boats LLC has worked in the world of high-performance vessel design and engineering for the past 25 years. Its work with America’s Cup class yachts over the past 18 years has put it at the forefront of the computer aided design, engineering, and construction of high performance composite structures for the marine environment. Bieker Boats played a central role to the development of the composite hydrofoils in the two most recent Americas Cup competitions.

Foiling Passenger Vessel Port2

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