This story originally appeared on NSCC’s website and has been republished with their permission. 

Envision a future where boats that serve inland coastal operations, inshore fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, marine research, the Navy, and the Coast Guard are cheaper to operate, quieter and less polluting. 

That’s the goal for the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) Clean Marine Propulsion Lab. Filled with dynamometers for testing electric motors, energy storage systems with lithium-ion batteries, high-capacity power supply, rigid-hulled boat for electrification, computer aided design facilities, and more – this space will be equipped with all the technology most needed to support advancement in clean marine propulsion.  

Early development advantageous to Nova Scotia

The Clean Marine Propulsion Lab is coming to life thanks to over $400,000 in funding from Canada Foundation of Innovation matched by Research Nova Scotia (RNS). Stefan Leslie, CEO of RNS believes this new infrastructure will benefit the economy and the environment.

“Research Nova Scotia is pleased to invest in research that addresses important challenges facing the province,” says Stefan Leslie. “Marine noise and emissions are significant concerns as we develop a sustainable oceans economy; this funding supports Nova Scotia’s research community in solving these challenges and builds on the province’s growing expertise in energy storage and innovative oceans technology.”

Dr. Wayne Groszko, NSCC Research Scientist and project lead explains how the funding for this project couldn’t have come through at a more opportune time:

“This is an area in which we can excel. Clear analogues exist in the clean automotive transportation sector, with electric drive systems quickly reaching or exceeding investment levels of traditional combustion systems. The clean marine sector is poised for rapid change.”

The opportunity is clear

Research is required and we have all the right elements. Our province is home to world-leading battery researchers, a thriving ship building industry and growing momentum in the Ocean Economy. As a province-wide technical college with a dedicated Nautical Institute, established sustainable energy R&D teams, and existing partnerships with industry and universities, NSCC is ready to help position Nova Scotia as a leader in electric and hybrid electric vessels.  

Innovating with industry

Key industry partners include the Nova Scotia Boatbuilders AssociationGlas Ocean Electric, and numerous suppliers of equipment for the facility. The lab’s equipment will enable primarily regional small-and-medium-sized enterprises to develop novel electric/hybrid electric motors, battery capabilities and other innovative systems that meet Transport Canada requirements for marine-grade electrified motors. 

NSSC’s experience with the first hybrid-electric vessel launch – Alutasi with Glas Ocean Electric, and discussions with industry partners will guide the design of the lab. The project will leverage the College’s applied research strength and expand on it with new infrastructure in an integrated environment.

Coming soon

NSCC plans to get the Clean Marine Propulsion Lab up and running as soon as possible at COVE. We’re working with our partners and neighbours at COVE as they go through a $14.5M recapitalization project. Successful coordination of this project will ensure that this new space will meet the needs of clean marine vessel developers in the region.