The University of Western Australia’s Renewable Energy Vehicle Project (REV) has teamed up with technology partner Electro.Aero, a Perth-based start-up company, and funding sponsor Galaxy Resources, an ASX-listed lithium producer, to develop the world’s first electric hydrofoil personal watercraft, named WaveFlyer.
The WaveFlyer appears similar to a conventional jet-ski when stationary, but rises above the water during operation using an actively stabilised hydrofoil propulsion system. It is much quieter, more energy efficient and produces no emissions compared to petrol powered-alternatives.
UWA REV Director Professor Thomas Braunl said WaveFlyer built on previous work of the team that developed Australia’s first electric jet-ski in 2015.
“It is loaded with two kilowatt-hours of energy in lithium-ion batteries, so the watercraft can operate for more than 30 minutes while carrying two riders,” Professor Braunl said.
“The new WaveFlyer feels more like flying above water rather than riding a conventional jet-ski. I can see tremendous commercial potential for this eco-friendly watercraft.
“Its development has been made possible by funding from Galaxy Resources to support the research, and the expertise of Electro.Aero in building electric propulsion and flight control systems.”
Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder of Electro.Aero Joshua Portlock said the technology was not only environmentally friendly, it would improve the safety, experience and efficiency of personal watercraft.
“We are very excited about the WaveDrive stabilised hydrofoil electric propulsion system we developed for the WaveFlyer prototype, as it is a technology that could help revolutionise the watercraft industry,” Mr Portlock said.
The development of WaveFlyer was also supported by donations from electronics companies Altronics, Nvidia and X-Sens.