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Eco Marine Power unveils solar-electric unmanned surface vessel

•, By Stu Robarts
The Aquarius USV project began in 2011 and a prototype is expected in 2015. It will mostly be used for data collection and monitoring purposes.

EMP focuses on developing technology aimed at reducing fuel and emissions for shipping, such as a rigid sail that harnesses both wind and solar energy to propel ships named EnergySail from 2012.

The Aquarius USV also harnesses the power of the sun. It features an array of marine-grade, flexible solar panels spanning its trimaran structure that charges its on-board lithium-ion batteries. Power can also be supplied via ship or shore rapid battery charging technology. A variation of the vessel will feature the EnergySail technology.

In order to operate and to collect data, the craft will feature a sophisticated on-board computer system, as well as a variety of sensors. Its systems will be based on the KEI 3240 platform, a marine computer system that EMP says, "has proven itself to be reliable on hundreds of vessels ranging from tugboats to ocean going bulk ore carriers and tankers."

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