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Teignbridge Propellers is engaged in new propeller and propulsion research using a specifically designed new vessel. The hydrodynamic research vessel (HRV1) has been designed and built for Duncan Research and Development Ltd, an associated company with Teignbridge Propellers. The craft is a unique floating hydrodynamic laboratory and work-shop, where innovations in propellers and propulsion equipment can be developed and tested in full size and true operating conditions. The vessel is a catamaran configuration with clear undisturbed water between the hulls where low and high speed testing can be carried out under observation.

The vessel is capable of speeds of 40 knots plus, and has the option to vary both engine bhp and shaft speed via a 6 speed gearbox. The hull resistance can be increased by the use of tabs and drogues. So the vessel can simulate various iterations of bhp, shaft speed and hull resistance to replicate a customer’s proposed or actual boat. At the lower speed range it can test for bollard pull performance, and at the higher speed ranges it can test for efficiency and cavitation avoidance. Propellers up to 1.2 meters in diameter will be manufactured and tested, which in many cases will be full size models. This will provide more accurate results than using small scale models in test tanks.

The engine is connected to an articulated pod drive that can be swung up into the cabin. This allows ease of changing the test propellers at sea. Therefore, a number of propellers can be tested and compared in a day.

The vessel is equipped with a full range of instrumentation for measuring, testing and recording all necessary aspects of the propellers performance. Teignbridge plans on optimising its highly efficient C-Foil propeller design further, and to produce a new high efficiency propeller design series.

The vessel is also available for testing on behalf of customers, designers, research institutes, universities and naval architects. The initial tests scheduled are for the £3m ETI funded HEPS (High Efficiency Propulsion System) project that Teignbridge is currently undertaking. This two year project aims to develop a commercially-viable system that can be retrofitted to a variety of vessel types. The HEPS technology aims to deliver a fuel efficiency benefit of greater than 8% on most vessels. Unlike other forms of transport it is difficult to replace fossil fuels in marine vessels with low carbon alternatives so increasing fuel efficiency will become progressively more important if emissions and costs are to be reduced for the shipping industry.

HRV1 is moored in Torquay harbour and uses the sheltered waters of Torbay as the test ground.

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