Italy’s Sealence, manufacturer of the DeepSpeed hydrojet motor and SafeLi battery, is planning to build a boat battery gigafactory and has signed an assessment document with the Region of Sardinia.
The company says the gigafactory is an integral part of their industrial plan and a facility for large-scale battery production will enable it to fulfill the significant multi-year orders it is currently discussing with several clients.
Electric hydrojet outboard
Sealence first came on the electric boat scene in 2018 when founder William Gobbo took engineering drawings and his theory on an outboard jet motor to Professor Ernesto Benini of the University of Padua, a leading international expert on fluid dynamics as applied to aeronautic propulsion.
Professor Benini immediately saw that the idea of positioning a water jet engine as an outboard overcame the limits of traditional water jet propulsion systems positioned inside the hull of the boat.
Further work led to DeepSpeed achieving the “Seal of Excellence” certification from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 department. A series of successful fundraising efforts began that saw the launch of the first Deepspeed electric hydrojet during the middle of the pandemic.
Realizing that the motor and battery system of a well engineered electric drive train are inseparable, Gobbo again turned to university talent in 2022 and acquired eDriveLab, an EV battery developer which had been founded by Professor Davide Lusignani as a spinoff from the University of Parma in 2017.
The resulting Sealence SafeLi battery came out of research focussed on the specific requirements of the marine propulsion world. With a maximum power output of 250kW and an energy storage capacity of 83kWh, the liquid-cooled lithium ion pack is fireproof and Naval Approved. It weighs in at 550 kg (150 Wh/kg) and can be charged to 80% in 12 minutes at high speed charging stations.
The Sealence e-drivetrain – DeepSpeed hydrojet motor, SafeLi battery, power and control electronics and optional hydrogen range extender – is a package designed to meet the demands of high-performance boats between 12 and 24 metres.
In October of 2022 Sealence announced they had also signed an MOU with Enevate, a California firm whose silicon battery technology delivers up to 26 percent reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the battery manufacturing process.
Boat battery gigafactory will start with SafeLi pack
The SafeLi will be the first battery manufactured at the gigafactory, with others expected to be introduced, starting in 2025. Gobbo estimates the facility will provide significant direct and indirect positive impact on the local economy and will employ 50 operators and technicians.
Gobbo says the company’s long-term industrial strategy has always incorporated plans for in-house battery manufacturing capabilities. This allows for continued research and improvement while insulating Sealence from any delivery issues with outside suppliers, particularly as demand for batteries increases in the EV world.
One of the Sealence achievements that makes it attractive to regional governments and authorities is the company’s recognition as an environmental leader. It has an overall ESG (Environment/Social/Government) rating of 80, and is a certified ‘B’ Corporation – recognizing it as a company that is ‘transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet.’
Sealence announced that it has completed the feasibility study for the new gigafactory and defined all the specifications for both the factory and assembly lines. The company is currently working with Sardinian officials on surveys of potential sites.