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an electric boat motor inspired by the fin of the dolphin

He may hold 7 patents, but he is not the inventor of this technology. Harold Guillemin, the founder of FinX, humbly admits it: it was his father’s now retired partner, Jean Baptiste Drevet, who developed it a few years ago. Designed for industrial pumps, it is on the other hand him as a young employee of this first young family shoot who made it an innovation for the nautical world.

The young shoot has found a renowned sponsor, navigator Loïc Peyron

Credits: EndX

Harold Guillemin, a young engineer with a passion for biomimicry, created his boat engine simply by drawing inspiration from fish. And none uses rotation to move, he rightly points out. By simple observation, it is as easy to note that a dolphin swimming two meters away from you makes no noise when a heat engine with a propeller two hundred meters away makes a lot of noise all the same, not to mention the smells of petrol and any oil stains it generates on the water.

12% of global transport greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to maritime transport. We at FinX are committed to participating in the emergence of more responsible nautical mobility.

The undulating membrane technology has many advantages. By removing the propeller, the danger it represents for fauna, flora and users is already eliminated. Real chopper installed at the back of a boat, the propellers can hurt and cause eddies, a mixing of the water quite harmful for underwater life. While the membrane, even in operation, can be touched without risk, insists Harold Guillemin.

Only the membrane and the magnets oscillate. No gas or oil needed. Result: no smell, no oil stains, no fuel or exhaust fumes released into the water. The life of the membrane is two years and can be replaced in minutes.

From a mechanical point of view, removing the propeller amounts to removing all rotating parts. No crankshaft, no reducer, no filter, so many parts that can get dirty, break, corrode. Also no risk of getting tangled in seaweed, ropes and fishing lines.

Listen

3 mins

“It’s the dolphin’s fin that we reproduce with this system,” says Harold Guillemin. Reporting by Annabelle Grelier

Disruptive Technology

To design its engine, FinX tried to reproduce the undulation of a fish fin. In his workshop, supported by a demonstration, Harold Guillemin gives us a short lesson in fluid mechanics.

The linear electric motor vibrates a flexible elastomer membrane which creates an acceleration of the fluid and by Venturi effect allows propulsion with a straight line flow.

The Fin5, its first 2kW engine – equivalent to 5 hp thermics – is dedicated to small boats, tenders and sailboats up to 3 tons. On the verge of being industrialized in Normandy, it will be marketed this summer. This first model will be aimed at individuals, who are yachtsmen, as well as professionals, boat rental companies without a licence, specialized distributors or even natural parks.

Harold Guillemin in front of the test bench of his first membrane engine in his laboratory now located in the 20th arrondissement of Paris
Harold Guillemin in front of the test bench of his first membrane engine in his laboratory now located in the 20th arrondissement of Paris

Credits: Annabelle Grelier

French Radio

This still recent technology has attracted the enthusiasm of investors. The young shoot is completing its second fundraiser of 5 million euros which will allow it to recruit. The team of ten employees will double its workforce by the end of the year to accelerate its development.

Ecological transition

Winner of the France Mobilités call for innovation to promote green mobility during the Paris Olympics in 2024, FinX has set itself the ambitious goal of designing a more powerful 150 horsepower engine powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.

The Fin 150 will not only be able to motorize passenger transport boats, but it should also equip the boat that will carry the Olympic flame scheduled to arrive by the Seine during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

Around innovation, the FinX team has created a circle of reflection on ecological transition
Around innovation, the FinX team has created a circle of reflection on ecological transition

Credits: Annabelle Grelier

French Radio

With 20 times less impact on the environment than a heat engine, FinX’s membrane engine seeks to be part of a broader movement of ecological transition.

The young shoot has created a think tank called BaseX, launched in the spring of 2020, in the midst of a health crisis, tells us Alexandra Corsi Chopin, communication officer at FinX.

We give voice to personalities who are working for a better world, through interviews published on our networks. It is also the desire to guide FinX on its way to a nautical and maritime revolution.

Engineers, navigators, artists, politicians, philosophers address major societal topics such as energy transition, transport or even biomimicry and testify to their way of acting and their commitment to proposing a more lenient future, in harmony with nature. A book collecting all these testimonies has also been published with the title Knowledge to Act – Towards another acceleration.

Harold Guillemin, founder of FinX, Alexandra Corsi Chopin, in charge of communication and of the BaseX think tank with Eugenie Guillemin
Harold Guillemin, founder of FinX, Alexandra Corsi Chopin, in charge of communication and of the BaseX think tank with Eugenie Guillemin

Credits: EndX

Sponsored by the navigator Loïc Peyron, the young shoot hopes to bring in its wake a whole generation more aware and concerned about climate issues.

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