The Lake Superior Research Institute (LSRI) at the University of Wisconsin-Superior has commissioned leading digital shipbuilder Incat Crowther to design a new low-emission battery hybrid research vessel.

Described as a ‘floating classroom’, the 65-foot USCG-certified catamaran will support the university’s on-water education and research and features proven parallel hybrid battery propulsion technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help meet the university’s environmental objectives.

Incat Crowther has customised the design of the vessel, which can carry 49 passengers and eight crew, specifically to the needs of the LSRI. The main deck features two large state-of-the-art laboratories – one a dry laboratory and the other a wet laboratory – which can also be configured to a traditional classroom set-up. Each laboratory is complemented with conveniently located storage spaces while the main deck also features a large 294-square foot working deck area, two folding dive platforms and two bathrooms.

The upper deck features a large classroom adjacent to the pilot house, and two survey winches for use with a stern a-frame.

Commenting on the project, Incat Crowther’s US-office Managing Director Grant Pecoraro said, “We are incredibly pleased the Lake Superior Research Institute chose Incat Crowther as their partner to deliver this new, innovative hybrid research vessel.”

“The collaboration between our teams has resulted in a versatile design which will effectively serve the needs of the Lake Superior Research Institute while reducing its environmental footprint.”

“This project demonstrates Incat Crowther’s commitment to understanding our clients’ needs and developing bespoke solutions to address unique requirements,” said Mr Pecoraro.

Amy Eliot, LSRI associate director and project lead said, “This stable, quiet hybrid catamaran will enable LSRI to continue and expand freshwater research initiatives, as well as provide opportunities for students and community members to connect with Lake Superior.”

Delivered in partnership with shipbuilder Midship Marine, the aluminium-hulled vessel is the first collaboration between Incat Crowther and the University of Wisconsin-Superior and is expected to be delivered in spring 2024.