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ADV Propulse pre-industrializes its biomimetic engine

“Silence, manoeuvrability, efficiency. The rotors we are developing tick all the boxes for the problems faced by maritime carriers who are accelerating on the energy transition while globally 5% of CO2 emissions are linked to maritime transport. By optimizing the hull of the boat and the propulsion in particular, the gain in terms of consumption would be around 20%“, explains to La Tribune Arnaud Curutchet, founder of ADV Propulse, a subsidiary of ADV Tech which he himself created in 2012.

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With ADV Propulse, the traditional propellers are over. Specialist in electric propulsion, the Bordeaux company has designed a system with blades that reproduce the undulatory movement of fish. This is called biomimicry.

“This system is very efficient while consuming less energy than conventional propulsion systems. It also allows the flow to be directed over 360 degrees, which gives a lot of manœworkability to the ship and therefore provides safety. Finally, it turns slowly and therefore makes less noise”explains Arnaud Curutchet.

Three product families

At this point, ADV Propels propose three product families:

  • a reversible thruster for sailboats,
  • an outboard system for speedboats of the sea rescue type (up to a hundred kilowatts),
  • a professional thruster for higher power boats (500 kilowatts and 1 megawatt) for offshore wind and passenger transport.

In the family of sailboats, the SeaLab catamaran of navigator Yves Parlier and his company Beyond The Sea will be equipped with two thrusters which will provide a propulsion function to leave the port and perform maneuvers. But as soon as the catamaran is under sail, these same thrusters will be able to operate in hydrogenerator mode and therefore provide energy on board.

“This is what we call the reversible thruster. With the same technological brick, we offer two applications: either the system sends energy, or it recovers it”explains Arnaud Curutchet.

The boat will be launched next March.

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With regard to the other two families, ADV Propulse works with the Center of Expertise for Naval Programs (CEPN) and, since last December, with Louis Dreyfus Armateurs, to equip the boat that transports the technical crews from the port to the wind farm. Among the other major partners from a technical and commercial point of view, Naval Group has been interested in this innovation since the first tests carried out on a drone in 2017.

Small series in the coming months

Goal for this year? Launch, in the second half of the year, the production of small series and fill the order book. It is in this context that the fundraising of three million euros carried out with Kerguelen Invest and Nouvelle-Aquitaine Co-Investissement (NACO), the fund launched in 2017 by the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region, takes place.

“This transition from the demonstration of know-how to the deployment of a product on the market, and therefore of an industrial strategy, requires relatively large capital and it is a phase for which there is a certain reluctance of the investors In the case of ADV Propulse, the investors are natural persons who have a strong industrial past, knowledge of the industry or even of this industry in particular and will, I am sure, receive very good advice and somewhere actor of the project”, testifies Thibaut Richebois, of TR2i who advised ADV Propulse on the financial aspects.

ADV Propulse now has several challenges:

“Dfirst confirm the market positions following the first sales, speed up commercialization, the priority market being yachting with our reversible system. Behind, it will be a question of increasing capacity and continuing to adapt our technology to boats with higher power”explains Jean-Louis Baritiu, Managing Director of ADV Propulse.

From 10 to 20 employees

Currently in the pre-industrial phase, the ten-person company intends to double its workforce this year. It plans to recruit a sales manager, mechanical engineers, draftsmen and then personnel for assembly, assembly, method, purchasing and quality. The ADV Propulse workshops are currently located on the Arts et Métiers campus in Bordeaux-Talence.

(credits: ADV Propulse).