At the Nautic Paris show this week a French start-up is showcasing a revolutionary new electric boat motor without revolutions – it has no propeller!
The FinX motor is one of the exhibitors in the booth of the AFBE (Electric Boat Association of France) at the show. “We replace the propeller with a membrane that ripples like a fish fin,” CEO and Founder Harold Guillemin explained to the AFBE. “It’s a technology that comes from industrial and medical pumps that we have licensed to the nautical field.”
Electric boat motor inspired by nature
M. Guillemin is a 28 year old mechanical and and electrical engineer who has been convinced since his teen years that “the best way to preserve nature is to be inspired by it.”
While working at AMS R&D on their Wavera membrane pump technology the thought occurred to him that since Wavera was based on the movement of a fish fin, wouldn’t it make sense to use it to propel a boat?
Technology in use for industrial and medical
The membrane pump was originally designed to be used in industrial applications, but it has also been miniaturized by medical supplier Corwave for a cardiovascular pump that mimics the action of a patient’s real heart.
Rather than try to explain how the FinX motor works, we’ve borrowed an animation from Corwave and a video from Wavera. The animation shows the basis of the design and the video shows how the fish fin actions works as a circular membrane.
Armed with his ambition and an exclusive license on 14 international patents, founder Guillemin has built a team of experts to optimize the FinX and get it ready for launch.
One of the advantages of FinX technology is its efficiency, comparable in some ways to the Deepspeed hydrojet motor being developed in Italy. The FinX is 20 to 30% more efficient than propellers.
More efficient, nothing to get tangled
Another advantage is that no propeller means more safety for swimmers (and fish) and nothing to get tangled or caught up in its working. A video on the FinX YouTube channel shows it in a tank of polluted water to demonstrate how things like algae, plastics and fishing line pass through it.
The company has been around less than a year, but has already had great reception not only at Nautic Paris but also at the Vivatech startup convention, St. Tropez Sustainable Mobility Summit and Monaco Solar and Energy Boat Challenge last July.
Two motors are available for pre-order on the FinX website now: the D70 for drones and other small watercraft (€199) and the D200 – a 2kW / 5hp motor with a pod-like configuration at €2990.
For future plans, M. Guillemin told the AFBE “In the second half of 2020, we would like to have available a higher power range that would be around 150 horsepower.” He also said they would like to approach other engine manufacturers about licensing the FinX technology.
Photo: The FinX team. Harold Guillemin, centre. Courtesy AFBE