This electric boat floats on the water. Using the right technology to save Venice


Venice has long been a popular tourist destination in Italy. It is a historic city with beautiful views of the city and the adjacent sea. The city is, however, in massive trouble as it is said to be sinking soon. Massive waves from the city's speedboats are causing irreparable damage to its iconic buildings.

But what if all of the taxis, ambulances and commuter ferries that serve as the city's primary mode of transportation could fly above the water and be electric? The revolutionary Candela C-7 electric hydrofoil boat will be back in town on Monday for a public demonstration of its unique capabilities.

Gas-powered motorboats arrived in Venice in the 1950s, increasing the speed and efficiency of water transportation. However, they did cause the problem known to Venetians as Moto Ondoso — or wake-induced damage –— which threatens to erode Venice's foundations.

The 800-year-old structures are supported by wooden pillars that were not designed to withstand the high-energy impact of the swells created by the city's fleet of diesel-powered speedboats. The wakes are regarded as such a nuisance that gondoliers and activists have repeatedly blocked the city's waterways in protest of speedboats. 

The Swedish-made Candela, hailed by the media as the "savior of Venice", is an entirely new kind of craft that brings hope of saving the city's unique cultural heritage from destruction and making transportation even better and faster than it is today. Candela C-7 is the first electric craft with a long-range and high speed, flying on computer-aided hydrofoils. 

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It uses computers and software to fly above the waves, requiring 80 percent less energy than traditional motorboats — and a welcome side effect is the almost complete absence of wake. The silent Candela C-7, with a wake less than five centimeters high, can fly at up to 30 knots (55 kilometers/hour) in urban waters without causing damage to buildings, canals, or other boats such as gondolas.

The mission of Candela is to accelerate the transition to fossil-fuel-free lakes and oceans. Candela C-7 is the world's first serially produced electric hydrofoil boat. C-7 is the first electric boat to outperform fossil fuel powerboats due to its long-range, high speed, and silent drive train.

Candela will now scale its hydrofoil technology to several commercial vessels thanks to a recent 24 million Euro investment from EQT Ventures. The company is developing the 30-passenger shuttle ferry Candela P-30 for the City of Stockholm, a similar vessel to the Vaporetto (water buses) that the Venetians currently use.

Because it flies above the swells and chop, a P-30 would be faster and more comfortable than today's diesel ferries. However, the most important aspect is that it will not produce any Moto Ondoso, according to Gustav Hasselskog, CEO of Candela Technology. 

The Candela P-30 will also be far more cost-effective to operate than today's diesel ferries. According to data provided by the Region of Stockholm, its first customer, the P-30, will have 40 percent lower operating costs than comparable-sized diesel vessels in Stockholm.

Simultaneously, Candela is developing the Candela P-12, a 12-person water taxi modeled after classic Venetian taxi boats. The foiling P-12, on the other hand, does not create a wake and consumes significantly less power at high speeds: only about 30 kW, or 40 hp, at a speed of 20 knots. Traditional taxi boats are frequently outfitted with 250-300 hp diesel engines. 

The Candela P-12 would be an ideal shuttle boat between Marco Polo Airport and the city. This stretch of water is also quite rough, with crisscrossing waves that can be uncomfortable. According to Gustav Hasselskog, flying above the water's surface would provide a much better experience for passengers.

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What is a hydrofoil boat?

Hydrofoil boats, which use hydrofoils to propel themselves much faster on the water, have captivated the shipping industry for quite some time. However, it should be noted that these hydrofoil boats are far from new. They were invented in 1908 by A. G. Bell and Casey Baldwin and were widely used by American troops during World War I to avoid mine-trapped waters.

However, because they are faster and faster on the water, these hydrofoil boats are gaining popularity in modern times. A hydrofoil boat operates on elementary principles. The hydrofoil at the boat's base allows the ship to move easily through the water and ensures that the body of the vessel — known as the hull in marine terms — does not come into contact with the water.

Furthermore, because the hydrofoil only works if the boat is still on the water's surface, it prevents the ship from rising out of the water and capsizing. Suppose a hydrofoil boat manages to come out of the water. In that case, the boat's design forces the hull to crash back into the water, and the hydrofoil is submerged until enough thrust is generated for the hydrofoil to lift the boat and continue.

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These hydrofoil boats are mostly used for fishing, but given their speed, they can be used for various other purposes in the future. They can help transport heavy materials across the ocean in a matter of days or weeks as cargo carriers, thereby helping to solve the problem of cargo being delayed while traveling to its intended destination.

Furthermore, because the hydrofoil is the main engineering behind the propelling of the hydrofoil boat, marine creatures can avoid the unintentional attack that they face when encountered with a cargo liner in the deep ocean.

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