VALO to provide hydrofoil systems for zero-emission, hydrogen-powered ORCA vessels

Blue Orca Marine, a Canadian pioneer in zero-emission sustainable marine solutions, has entered into a strategic partnership with San Francisco-based VALO (also known as Boundary Layer Technologies) to propel hydrofoil innovation.

Courtesy of Blue Orca Marine

The collaboration is said to mark a significant step towards revolutionizing eco-friendly maritime transportation.

Under the partnership, VALO will provide Blue Orca with high-powered industrial hydrofoilling systems tailored to the ORCA vessel, a 36-meter versatile commercial workboat powered by zero-emission hydrogen technology.

VALO will contribute hydrofoil design expertise and proprietary foil stabilization software for the anticipated construction of 50 ORCA vessels by Blue Orca over the next decade.

According to the company, ORCA sets new standards for utility workboat platforms, boasting a range of 1,000 NM, cruising speeds of 40 knots, a 375 square metre work deck, and a 300 metric ton payload.

Designed as the “pick-up” truck chassis for mid-size marine workboats, ORCA’s customizable deck can play a pivotal role in decarbonizing numerous coastal maritime sectors, including ferry/personnel transportation, short-haul high-speed freight, marine service & support, eco-tourism, and offshore energy operations.

“Our partnership with VALO will drive us closer to our vision of a sustainable and decarbonized maritime industry. Hydrofoils are integral to ORCA, making our long-term collaboration with VALO crucial,” Rich Robillard, CEO of Blue Orca Marine, said.

By combining the power of hydrogen technology with hydrofoil efficiency, performance, and low wake disturbance, ORCA eliminates harmful emissions and reduces erosion in sensitive maritime ecosystems, contributing to a cleaner and greener future for marine transportation.

“We are excited to join forces with Blue Orca Marine to advance our hydrofoil technology in sustainable commercial marine workboats and transportation,” Ed Kearney, CEO of VALO, commented.

“Together, we aspire to redefine the possibilities of zero-emission hydrofoilling commercial vessels.”

Two years ago, Boundary Layer Technologies introduced ARGO, a zero-emission hydrofoiling containership concept design. Back then, the company revealed plans to operate these vessels to establish a zero-emission shipping service that can replace air freight along major intra-Asia trade lanes.

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In 2021, the company also launched ELECTRA, a fully electric hydrofoiling ferry concept design.