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CoPropel puts forth a holistic approach in the shipping industry by introducing a composite marine propeller offering corrosion resistance, light weight, tailoring of material properties, low electric signature and acoustic properties. The CoPropel consortium seeks to contribute to the optimisation of propulsion systems by developing and maturing technologies for the realisation of marine propellers made of advanced composite materials. Compared to their traditional counterparts, marine composite propellers are more ‘quiet’, ‘lightweight’ and ‘highly efficient’:

  • Low vibration - reduced noise emissions: Its high damping performance absorbs vibration on the shafting leading to reduced underwater radiated noise (URN)
  • Lightweight: 50-60% lighter enabling a smaller shaft diameter resulting in a smaller moment of inertia (1/4)
  • High performance: 12% to 15% lower energy consumption and reduced environmental footprint
  • High Strength: Greater resistance to fatigue enabling high reliability
  • Reduced cavitation: Its flexible deformation enables the cavitation inception to be restrained.

The CoPropel project will see an interdisciplinary team of experts drawn both from research and industry, from theoretical considerations and numerical modelling to precision manufacturing - assembly and experimental verification testing. The CoPropel action brings together 9 organisations from 5 countries, two of the organisations are based in UK (associated partners). More precisely those organisations are: 4 Research Institutes – TWI Limited (TWI) (associated partner), University of Ioannina (UOI), Brunel University London (BUL) (associated partner) and The Bulgarian Ship Hydrodynamics Centre (BSHC); 4 Industrial Partners – Loiretech Ingenierie (LRT), Danaos Shipping Company Limited (DAN), MECA Group (MECA), Glafcos Marine Ltd (GME) and one certification body Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore Registre International (BV). Together, we will develop and bring to market a marine composite propeller with an embedded structural health monitoring (SHM) system. The proposed activities will mature our Technology Readiness Level (TRL) up to 5-6 and drastically de-risk the integration of the investigated solutions on future products, effectively resulting in reducing the direct operating costs for the operators while minimising the environmental impact. 


More about the consortium members:

University of Ioannina (UoI) is located in the city of Ioannina, in the region of Epirus, Greece. UoI was founded in 1964 and is now comprised from 24 Academic Departments operating in 11 Faculties, more than 50 research centres and laboratories as well as central services and infrastructures. The Laboratory of Composite & Smart Materials (CSML) ( of University of Ioannina, which is participating in CoPropel, was founded in 2007, under the Section of Engineering &Non-Destructive Testing of the Department of Materials Science Engineering. The head of CSML is Professor Paipetis Alkiviadis, while the staff consists of 11 researchers (3 postdoctoral & 11 PhD candidates). The mission of CSML is to provide training and research in the field of Advanced Composite Materials and Structures, with particular emphasis on Non-destructive Evaluation (NDE) and the development and exploitation of Composite Materials and structures with Multiple Smart Functionalities. Other research activities of CSML include Hierarchical Composite Materials and Interfaces, Biodegradable Micro / Nano-Composite Materials, synthesis technologies of self-healing materials, development of new NDE techniques and monitoring of processes based on thermal, optical and electrical responses of structures. CSML is actively participating in several National and European funded research and development projects.

Loiretech designs and manufactures all kind of tooling necessary for the manufacturing, assembly and inspection of large & complex composite or metallic parts. We can also take care of small series production of high performance composite parts. Our main customers belong to the aerospace, automotive, defense, energies & healthcare industries. Loiretech group is located in the West of France, close to Nantes in the Jules VERNE Manufacturing Valley which combines the skills of aerospace structures manufacturers, composites materials suppliers, Science university and technical center especially focused on manufacturing technologies.

Established in Cambridge, UK in 1946 and with several facilities across the globe, TWI Ltd ( is one of the world-leading not-for-profit research and technology organisations with a turnover in 2018 of £64m (€71million). From bases in the UK, South East Asia, India, the Middle East, Central Asia and the USA, nearly 800 staff provide expertise in joining and fabrication, material science and structural integrity. Services include generic research; contract R&D; technical information; engineering services and advice; standards development; and training and qualification services. TWI has been carrying out research and development into composite materials for over 30 years. This gives considerable breadth to our expertise, which covers all aspects of working with composites including design, modelling, processing, repair, NDT, failure analysis, joining, added functionality (coatings) and testing. The breadth of our knowledge also draws on the use of composites in the many different industry sectors with which we work, each with differing requirements and applications Although composite materials can be processed into components and structures in many ways, depending on the materials used, the complexity of the geometry and the production output required. One of the principal areas of research affecting the uptake of composites is the development of controlled processing techniques which allows monitoring of defects within processing stage. Our recent research and approach in this project will enable to achieve this barrier and allow the industry to make a step change. The Adhesives, Composites and Sealants (ACS) section of TWI has several dedicated engineers in the field of composites. The section excels in three technology strands: i) processing of composites (hot press, microwave, RTM, etc.) ii) welding of thermoplastics and iii) adhesive bonding of composites to dissimilar materials. The section has played a major part in the development of processing of composites and investigation of composite fracture mechanics.

Founded in 1828, Bureau Veritas is the world´s second-largest group in conformity assessment and certification services. Bureau Veritas helps more than 400 000 clients worldwide to improve their performances by offering services and innovative solutions to ensure that their assets, products infrastructure and management systems meet all quality, health and safety, environmental and social responsibility standards and regulations. Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore (M&O) SAS is a subsidiary of Bureau Veritas and has a wide experience in ship and offshore platforms classification, ship and marine equipment certification and technical assistance. Bureau Veritas M&O performs studies and class of ship and offshore technologies in various technical fields covering in particular risk analysis, hydrodynamics, structural reliability, energy efficiency, safety, environmental impact assessment and software development. For the purpose of approval, surveyors refer to Bureau Veritas rules, which are continuously maintained and updated, and internationally recognized standards. The research teams of Bureau Veritas M&O have been (and still are) involved in many research projects both at national and international (European Commission co-funded projects, JIPs,…), either as project leaders or as contributing partners.

MECA : an expertise center with complementary skills in mechanical analysis. Partner of research and development institutes, university laboratories and technical centers, we act as an interface between the lastest innovations and the techno-economic feasibility of each project. A global and international service offerings including studies and project/product designs, industrialization, or construction delivery as well as certification and maintenance phases.

Brunel University has been highly successful in creating an industrial innovation research resources, named Brunel Composites Innovation Centre (BCC). BCC sits between the knowledge base and industry, supporting partners in industry to transfer academic research into industrial application. BCC specialises in novel composites processing and joining technologies, applied to industrial environments. BCC develops innovative methods for composites processing/joining across Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) 1-6. The core areas of this research are microwave heating in composites production, joining of composites without mechanical fastening, adhesive bonding, coatings for composites, composites-metal joints, novel processing of composites and interface phenomena at composite surfaces.

Bulgarian Ship Hydrodynamics Centre (BSHC) is situated in the city of Varna on the Bulgarian west coast of Black Sea. The Centre has been established in 1976 with the financial and expert support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as a scientific research and experimental center in the field of hydrodynamics of ships, floating objects and marine-based facilities. BSHC performs wide spectrum of fundamental and applied research in the fields of ship hydrodynamics, aerodynamics, water transport, ocean and coastal engineering, sea and river crises and disasters, sea ecology, facilities for fisheries and aquacultures, renewable energy sources, national security and defense. In parallel with the scientific R&D activity, the Centre performs also training of students, cadets, PhD students, post-graduate students and trainees in the fields of its competence: ship theory, fluid mechanics, river and sea coast structures.

GlafcoS Marine is a worldwide consultancy technical group composed from Naval Architects, Marine, Mechanical & Electrical Engineers, Surveyors and Marine Consultants offering its experience and services, through a highly competent global network in the broader area of supporting ship operations, including shipyards, ship-owners and ship-operators. The main areas of maritime services provided by Glafcos Marine are consultancy services for strategic planning and problem-solving of technical issues faced by shipping companies during vessel’s life cycle starting from new building design, vessel retrofitting & construction supervision, sea trials attendance, ship inspection, maintenance & major repairs to vessels’ recycling. GlafcoS Marine is at the forefront of innovation, not limited only in the maritime field with its active in-house R&D department which is involved in the investigation and realization of new ideas attached to current problems in the maritime industry; this is proven by Glafcos active participation in some EU funded projects among others and the development of dedicated product solutions:Optinav FP5-IST (2001-2003), MINOAS FP7-STREP (2009-2012), INCASS FP7-SST (2013-2016), ROBINS Horizon 2020 (2018-2021).

DANAOS shipping is one of the largest independent owners of modern, large-size containerships (76) with distinct edge in advanced shipping technology and long track record of safety, efficiency, and environmental responsibility. DANAOS has implemented a robust Environmental Management System integrating environmental issues with company operations and actively participates in research, testing and developing new technologies. DANAOS has a long record of active engagement in joint initiatives reflected in the participation of the company to EU research and innovation projects.