Eco-friendly water taxi developed in Southampton

REAPSYSTEMS have developed a ‘drop-in’ hybrid engine that combines diesel with an electric motor to make marine travel more eco-friendly.

The Southampton-based company have installed the engine into a Venice water taxi to target the environmental issues within the Italian city.

According to the company, Venice suffers from high levels of air pollution which effects the canal water, the city architecture and human health.

This is due to 550 water taxis and buses addressing the needs of the 32 million tourists visiting the city each year.

The boat combines diesel with an electric motor.
The boat combines diesel with an electric motor.

The company will be taking the boat to Venice in May next year to convince the local authority of a new regulation on vehicle emissions.

Following this, the organisation aim to take the hybrid engine into wider production within Venice and branch out into other locations.

Both the diesel and electric elements are connected to the engine so the boat can use both components.

When the boat is traveling at slow speeds, the engine runs from the electric motor with no noise, no pollution and no fuel consumption.

During medium to high speeds, the diesel engine automatically takes over to reach higher speeds, but the electric motor still works as a generator to recharge the batteries during this time.

The company targeted Venice due to the high levels of pollution and the slower speeds used by water taxis.
The company targeted Venice due to the high levels of pollution and the slower speeds used by water taxis.

Dr Dennis Doerffel, Founder of REAPsystems, believes that the company stands for something different to similar organisations. He said: “REAPsystems wants to stand for the true hybrid, not just a nice sticker on the back which I could be selling for lots of money and then put something in that looks like a hybrid. We want the people and environment to benefit from the technology.”

The company are giving the public a chance to get involved with the project through a crowd-funding campaign with the opportunity to sponsor the concept.

Visit www.reapsystems.co.uk and go to the ‘Project Venice’ page to find out more.

Click below to listen to an extended interview with Dr Dennis Doerffel.

by Josh Stokes (@JoshuaStokesUK)