For generations, Atlantic Canadians have proven themselves to be some of the most innovative fishing boat designers and builders in the world.
Now, another company from this region will be drawing on its decades of naval architecture experience to add a new chapter to the way fishing vessels are designed and built for the demanding conditions of this region of the North Atlantic.
On May 12, TriNav Marine Design Inc. was selected as the Hull Design Efficiency Challenge grand prize winner and will receive a $500,000 non-repayable contribution through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s (ACOA) Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program.
The Hull Design Efficiency Challenge — a joint initiative of ACOA and Impact Canada — was launched in July 2019 to encourage Atlantic Canadian boat builders and designers to come up with innovative fishing boat hull designs to reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions. ACOA also partnered with the National Research Council of Canada’s Ocean, Coastal and River Engineering Research Centre in St. John’s to provide scientific and technological expertise to test and validate the applicants’ proposed solutions.
The funding contribution will enable TriNav Marine Design, which is headquartered in St. John’s, N.L., to build and field-test a prototype of its winning innovative design, titled the E-FINN hull design.
Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Bernadette Jordan, made the announcement during the virtual press conference on behalf of Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA.
“A big congratulations to TriNav Marine Design Inc., the grand prize winner of the Hull Design Efficiency Challenge. Your team excelled in the competition by creating a fishing boat design that will reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions for fishing boat owners, helping Canada on the path to net-zero emissions by 2050.”
ACOA received 19 submissions from across Atlantic Canada to the Hull Design Efficiency Challenge, which narrowed the field to eight semi-finalists and then three finalists through a series of scored evaluations overseen by an impartial selection jury. Submissions were evaluated on their merits for presenting a strong business case and demonstrating design innovations aimed at increasing fuel efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
TriNav Marine Design was one of three finalists to develop a hull that lowers operating costs and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The other finalists were Wedgeport Boats Ltd. of Lower Wedgeport, N.S. and Allswater Marine of Bedford, N.S.
The three finalists had scale models of their ships built and tested at a National Research Council facility in St. John’s. Models with sensors on board were tested in a 200-metre-long towing tank to confirm results from computer simulations.
Rick Young, TriNav Marine Design’s Director, explained that given the hundreds of fishing boat designs the local naval architecture company has produced over its nearly three decades of operation, participating in the Hull Design Efficiency Challenge was an obvious fit.
“TriNav Marine Design would like to congratulate all of the participants and finalists in the Hull Design Efficiency Challenge. When our company became aware of this challenge, we knew that with our history and years of experience providing a very diverse list of services to the Eastern Canadian fishing industry, we had to participate. We would like to thank Impact Canada, ACOA, the NRC and the evaluation jury for recognizing the importance of energy efficiency and reducing emissions, as well as their appreciation for the importance of the fishing industry in Atlantic Canada. I would personally like to thank our team of naval architects who helped create the E-FINN hull design — their knowledge, as well as their hands-on experience in the fishing industry, was very valuable. TriNav Marine Design looks forward to further developing the E-FINN hull and completing our design. Our company has a passion for the fishing industry, and we are proud to be the winners of this very interesting challenge.”
The selection jury was chaired by Henry Demone, a former CEO of High Liner Foods.
Demone noted that one of the key points that led the selection jury to select the E-FINN fishing boat hull was not only its efficiency elements, but its similar characteristics to the type of vessels that fishermen use today.
“We didn’t want to choose a winner that fishermen would have difficulty considering when they upgrade their vessels. Commercialization is an important part of the contest. The winner’s designs will be the first step in improving the carbon footprint of this important industry and we expect more to come in terms of propulsion systems,” he added.
And speaking of propulsion systems, Young explained how TriNav Marine Design’s winning entry combined a clean, innovative hull design with high-efficiency diesel generators that provide power to battery banks that propel the vessel through the water.
“TriNav Marine Design knew that to have an accepted and successful design in the fishing industry, our hull design, the E-FINN hull, would have to be one that was easily recognizable, practical and diversified. To achieve this, we reflected on the designs we have already completed over the last 25 years and also what was commonly used in the industry.”
In the less than 15-metre category, the most common design throughout Atlantic Canada is the Nova Scotia lobster boat style.
“We worked with this basic shape and dimensions to develop a more efficient hull. One of the great features of this basic design is that it can and is used by fishers involved with pretty much all species, but particularly lobster, crab, scallop, groundfish and seining. We knew the vessel had to be a displacement type hull since most fisheries require a large fish hold and carrying capacity, particularly when carrying lobster and crab in live well tanks and when seining. Also, this type of hull has great stability characteristics and handles well in heavy weather. Hence the reason there are thousands of this style of vessel currently in the industry,” Young explained.
The E-FINN hull design has many features that improve on efficiency — most notably is an increased waterline length and refined entry angles at the bow, he said.
“We designed a reversed bow rake to help achieve this, while introducing bow flare to reduce spray and green water on deck. A refined entry angle makes it easier to push water away from the vessel as it moves forward, requiring less energy to do so. We refined the stern shape to reduce waterline breadth to reduce drag, without affecting stern buoyancy and trim. A large contributor to inefficiency is drag, as many tonnes of water are dragged behind the vessel in its wake. Reducing this meant less energy was used to move the vessel forward. In addition to this we arranged the vessel in a traditional manner with the fish hold aft and the propulsion machinery and accommodations forward but allocated the spaces so that trim was less extreme in various loading conditions. Trim by the stern in particular increases hull immersion and drag, increasing energy consumption.”
Another key feature about the hull that improves efficiency is an efficient propeller.
Young explained that many times, not enough consideration is given to the propeller design.
“We will be consulting with suppliers to optimize the design. The rudder design will be improved to create better water flow and more effective lift or turning capabilities. An air foil design is much more efficient than a basic plate rudder with stiffeners. Stern post fairing is often overlooked, improving water flow to the propeller will improve performance and efficiency. The E-FINN hull will be built with minimum or no exterior attachments or protrusions — all attachments will be recessed with appropriate fairing. This will reduce surface area, drag and frictional resistance; all which add to hull efficiency.”
The E-FINN design will maintain a low profile with improved shapes to reduce windage and improve air flow over and around the vessel when moving forward. The hull structural design will be optimized to ensure structure is of an appropriate size and location to optimize strength. No wood structure will be used in the design. Wood is still a common construction material in fibreglass vessels.
“It is common for vessels to be overbuilt in certain areas of the hull and sometimes where its not needed. Optimizing structure design will reduce hull weight, material cost and the associated labour cost. Every aspect of the hull and vessel will be improved to reduce resistance. This leads to a reduced requirement for power to move the vessel forward. We estimate that as much as a 20 per cent reduction in fuel consumption can be achieved with the combined effects of the hull design features,” Young noted.
Equally important in the hull design is that the E-FINN vessel will be fitted with a hybrid propulsion system where high-efficient diesel generators will supply power to batteries where it will be stored and used on an as-needed basis.
“Battery power will supply power to an electric motor which will drive the shaft and propeller. This arrangement will consume only the fuel needed based on the demand. The hybrid system will supply power to drive the vessel, but also fishing equipment and carry loads such as lights and galley equipment. When demand is low, a reduced amount of fuel will be consumed, plus the batteries can be charged at dockside from clean energy sources such as hydro electricity. We estimate that as much as a 20 per cent reduction in fuel consumption can be achieved with the hybrid propulsion system. That’s a 40 per cent total reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gases with the combined benefit of the efficient hull and hybrid system.”
Young said the next steps in the design process are to further refine the E-FINN hull design based on the full-scale model tests and the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis of the hull completed by the National Research Council (NRC).
“We are also working on the hull structure design, structure drawings, general arrangement drawing, vessel weight estimates, preliminary stability assessment and the hybrid propulsion design. In the meantime, we are interested in working with qualified boatbuilders to develop a mould so the first hull can be produced. We are building a list of interested clients in the fishing and aquaculture industry who want the E-FINN hull, with expectations that the first vessel will be completed within the next 24 months,” Young stated.