Following the growing need to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and promote the promotion of renewable energies, the COP26 climate change conference held in 2021 identified the need to accelerate the shift towards electric vehicles. Aligned with this goal, the electrification of boats and in particular recreational boats is a worldwide trend, and its market is estimated to reach a value of more than $9 billion by 2026.
The electrification of recreational boats is a reality in northern Europe and the United States, although with limitations to guarantee autonomy. With the aim of reducing emissions and preserving the conservation of marine ecosystems, a growing demand for electric boats is expected to be driven. From this comes the need to update the infrastructure for charging these vehicles, or their installation in areas without ports such as anchorage coves.
In this sense, the AICharge project will develop a recharging solution for electric pleasure boats to be installed as a buoy in anchorage coves. This solution will act as an autonomy extender for the boats as well as offering an eco-sustainable alternative, especially in areas that require greater protection. More specifically, the project will integrate Artificial Intelligence and distributed registry technologies (also known as Blockchain) to maximize the electric recharging of recreational boats with sustainably sourced energies, so as to reduce and even eliminate the current dependence on fossil fuels and thus contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases.
AICharge, which will run from November 2021 to August 2022, promotes cross-sector collaboration between the water and energy sectors with its consortium formed by two Innovative Business Groups (AEIs); the Clúster de l’Energia Eficient (project coordinator) and the Catalan Water Partnership, and three SMEs GPA Seabots, Power Innotech and Prosume that will develop the technical part of the project.
The AICharge project, with a total approved eligible budget of €213,471, is co-financed by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism (MINCOTUR) through the second call for AEIs in 2021 under the Next Generation grants and the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan.
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