The race is on to make the shipping sector more environmentally friendly, and at the forefront is an innovative marine propulsion engineering SME. It has achieved spectacular growth over the last year, having begun to work with Innovate UK EDGE.
Ecomar Propulsion Ltd. aims to clean up marine propulsion by creating efficient, high-output, zero-emission marine engines (both inboard and outboard) and energy storage systems. Ecomar is developing revolutionary new technology that integrates batteries, hydrogen fuel cells and other power sources, for use in commercial vessels.
With its clear potential and the environmental benefits of its electric marine propulsion technology, the company contacted Innovate UK EDGE for tailored business support, and has been working with Innovation and Growth Specialist Lukasz Liebersbach since May 2020.
Funding, IP support and international & regional connections put wind in Ecomar's sails
The support has focused on securing funding and IP. First, an introduction to Greentech South led to a Low Carbon Solent Grant of £43K. Most recently, Lukasz encouraged Ecomar's successful application to Innovate UK’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition: together with partners including the University of Exeter’s Centre for Clean Mobility, the University of Plymouth and Serco, Ecomar will be working to design and build a zero-emission, twin outboard marine engine system. The project has won funding from Innovate UK of more than £1m.
An audit of IP has led to a number of engineering solutions being proposed for patent applications. Ecomar has been introduced to various technology partners, leading to the development both of hardware and of bespoke software for its electric propulsion systems.
Ecomar has been given further networking opportunities through MariMatch. The international maritime B2B matchmaking event was organised by Innovate UK EDGE partners in Enterprise Europe Network. It has received advice on branding and marketing, and introductions to design experts.
Turnover and headcount growth
All of this has propelled Ecomar forward at an impressive rate: the company is experiencing exponential growth in turnover, and headcount has increased more five fold in the last year. In less than three years, Ecomar has gone from building prototypes in a shipping container to having its own, fully fledged 5,000-square-foot workshop.
For Ecomar’s Managing Director Eugene Bari, much of this growth comes down to the support that the company has received through Innovate UK EDGE.
“When we had our initial discussions, we had no real idea of the type of advice we could expect. But as we discussed with Lukasz the issues we were facing, he immediately came up with some outstanding local contacts. This not only helped us with our immediate issues, but has led to us developing long-term relationships that have benefited both us and the wider local economy. With his intimate knowledge of local businesses and the personalities involved, Lukasz knew who to recommended and who would be a great match for us.”
“Beyond these immediate contacts, Lukasz has brought to our attention many other opportunities for our development and future growth, knowing their suitability for us as a new company. For an SME, to know that someone is looking out for you, and helping to remove risk, is priceless.”