Fin-Driven Motor: FinX Introduces Propeller-Free Boating

Ty Emerald
By Ty Emerald

In a world where innovation and nature intersect, a French startup named FinX is revolutionizing the way boats navigate our waters, drawing inspiration directly from the sea’s most graceful inhabitants.

At the heart of this innovation lies an inspired approach to marine propulsion: a biomimetic electric outboard that eschews traditional propellers in favor of a fin-like undulating membrane, reminiscent of the elegant movements of dolphins and jellyfish. This technology not only promises a quieter and more efficient journey across the water but also a safer and more environmentally friendly one.

A Propeller-Less Future

The brainchild of Jean-Baptiste Drevet in the 1990s, the core technology behind FinX’s motor began as a quest to create a fluid pump system that mimicked the efficiency of nature’s designs. This pursuit caught the attention of Erik Guillemin, leading to the development and commercialization of the technology for various applications, including industrial and medical pumps, under the Wavera trademark.

Decades later, Harold Guillemin, leveraging his tenure at AMS R&D, founded FinX with a vision to adapt this technology for maritime use. The result is the world’s first fin motor, a propeller-less system poised to revolutionize the boating industry with its biomimetic approach.

Technical Innovations, Features, And Less Harm To Marine Life

The FinX outboard motor utilizes a linear motor to activate a ring-shaped elastomer membrane. This membrane undulates, creating wave energy that propels the boat forward through fluid flow. This design not only eliminates the dangers associated with traditional propellers but also operates with remarkable efficiency and minimal noise.

In short, the more traditional motors that are replaced by biomimetic ones, we’ll see fewer dolphins, whales, manatees, and seals injured or killed by blades slicing through their own homes.

Key specifications of the FinX motor include:

    • Linear Propulsion Efficiency: The motor’s unique mechanism consumes less energy than conventional propeller systems, offering a greener, cost-effective solution for boaters.
    • Quieter Operation: Designed to reduce noise and water agitation, the FinX motor ensures a serene boating experience that minimizes disturbance to marine life.
    • Safety First Design: The absence of sharp propeller blades significantly reduces the risk of injury to swimmers and marine creatures, as well as damage to underwater structures.

The FinS: A Step Towards Sustainable Boating

FinX has rolled out its first commercial product, the FinS, catering to small boats, inflatable dinghies, and sailboats up to 3 tonnes. This 2-kW motor, easily attached to the boat’s transom, promises a new era of environmentally friendly maritime travel.

With a 72-Ah 48-V lithium battery, the FinS can reach speeds just under 7 mph (11 km/h), offering up to an hour and 45 minutes of operation at peak speed. For longer, leisurely journeys at 3 mph (5 km/h), boaters can enjoy up to eight hours of cruising time.

The FinS is priced at approximately $3,450 (around €3,200), reflecting FinX’s commitment to making sustainable boating accessible.

What’s Next?

At the Boat Düsseldorf show, FinX teased its next innovation, the FinE, a high-power model designed for larger vessels such as tourist shuttles, riverboats, and work boats.

Featuring a dual-membrane system for enhanced thrust, the FinE represents the next frontier in FinX’s mission to marry technology with environmental stewardship, including plans for integration with hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Meet The Designer: FinX Motors

FinX, founded by Harold Guillemin (pictured right) rethinks navigation and develops bio-inspired boat engines. By observing the movement of marine animals, FinX imagines a fin to propel the boats forward, for a harmonious cohabitation with nature.

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