The introduction of the government’s Clean Maritime Plan, aimed at reducing vehicle emissions by 40% by 2030, prompted them to explore alternatives to diesel-engines for small boat owners.
Professor Chris Smith and Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Associate, Richard Creek, worked closely with Lynch Motors to find a way to reduce the 1bn tonnes of carbon dioxide produced by the shipping industry every year.
The initial collaboration between Centre for Future Clean Mobility (CFCM) & Lynch Motors began through the ERDF funded Marine Business Technology Centre (MBTC) project that enabled CFCM to provide business support & innovation expertise to Lynch Motors. This laid the foundation to develop this collaboration into a KTP project. The pioneering work of this partnership was recognised and awarded the ‘Innovation Award’ by the MBTC board.
Our answer was twofold. Firstly, to develop a new larger electric motor that was efficient, powerful and cheaper than other electric motors on the market. We used simulation-driven design processes to develop a new 12-pole electric motor design, adding 50% more power to the Lynch Motor range. The first prototype was quickly tested on project completion.
This new motor will grow Lynch Motors market opportunities as it can be installed into larger vessels with a target of electric-only drive.
Secondly, a new diesel-electric parallel hybrid assembly design was drawn up using an electro-magnetic clutch. A modified motor controller was required enable usage of existing Lynch motors as a generator and was sourced after successfully establishing a new partnership with a UK supplier.
Finally, we developed a programmable battery management solution to control the engagement of the clutch under the different hybrid modes: diesel drive, electric motor drive or diesel-to-electric generator, providing additional means to recharge the battery supply.
Our experts at Exeter were able to support Lynch in anticipating potential engineering challenges and development costs. For instance, beyond targeting performance requirements, the new motor design also focused on optimizing the geometry of components to minimize raw material use while keeping in mind ease and costs of machining. In tandem, Lynch Motors also benefited by extending their in-house manufacturing capabilities to combat the industry-wide supply chain issues brought on by Brexit, Covid-19, and the war in Ukraine.
There are 265,000 small boats in the UK that still use combustion engines. Lynch Motor’s ‘Red Snapper’ electric hybrid motor/generator has retrofit capabilities which mean that boat owners can install a cleaner, greener electric hybrid solution at low cost alongside their existing combustion engine. Whilst this feature means boat-owners can reduce their carbon footprints, it also massively reduces waste, making it possible to extend the life of a vessel rather than replace it.
Lynch Motors have hired Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Associate, Richard Creek as a full-time employee for the final stages of prototype assembly and field trials testing as they go on to lead in a new, greener, market. The KTP was rated ‘Very Good’ by Innovate UK.