Maine Maritime Academy Receives MEIF-SCI Grant to Complete Research and Development of Fuel-Efficient Lobster Boat Hull Design

Posted on: March 27, 2015

CASTINE, Maine—Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) has received a grant of $75,312 from the Maine Economic Improvement Fund Small Campus Initiative (MEIF-SCI) to complete research and development of a lobster boat hull that increases fuel efficiency. Now in its fourth year of design and scale-model trials, the multi-year collaboration between MMA and the Penobscot East Resource Center (PERC) will be focused on completing the R&D phase of a trimaran design that significantly reduces fuel use and pollution, while maintaining the large deck capacity needed for commercial lobster fishing.

“Our research began with interviewing lobster fishermen to understand their requirements,” said Douglas Read, Associate Professor of Engineering at Maine Maritime Academy. “We then designed and tested various scale-model solutions, and our students collected and evaluated that data. Now, we are proving hydrodynamic benefits of our ultimate concept, a trimaran design. We’re optimizing the design, and testing it under varying conditions in larger-scale versions.”

The MEIF-SCI grant will position MMA and PERC to complete the design and engineering work necessary to be able to engage with multiple builders. The project goals for the research grant include: the use of free running models to complete seakeeping and maneuvering analysis; refining stability analysis of the design; confirming final hydrodynamic performance; and conducting detailed strength analysis. Ultimately, a full-scale prototype of an optimized trimaran design will be built and tested.

“The result of this project will be an innovative hull design that reduces emissions, which could have significant long-term impacts on the sustainability of the Maine lobster fishing fleet,” said Robin Alden, Executive Director of the Penobscot East Resource Center. A sustainable future for fisheries and fishing communities in Eastern Maine and beyond is part of the PERC mission.

About Maine Maritime Academy
Maine Maritime Academy is a co-educational, public college on the coast of Maine offering 18 degree programs in engineering, management, science, and transportation. The college serves approximately 950 undergraduate and graduate students in career-oriented programs of study. Maine Maritime Academy was ranked the #1 Best Public College on Money magazine’s Best Colleges list released in August, 2014. The college’s persistence, retention and graduation rates are well above national averages, and the job placement rate is in excess of 90 percent within 90 days of graduation. For more information, visit

About Penobscot East Resource Center
Founded in 2003, Penobscot East Resource Center is a non-profit organization that works to secure a diversified fishing future for the communities of Eastern Maine and beyond. The organization develops and implements innovative programs that provide value for today’s fishermen and drive more sustainable management approaches for future fisheries. An essential component of their work is connecting the knowledge of fishermen, the findings of scientists, and the world of policy makers. For more information, visit

About the Maine Economic Improvement Fund Small Campus Initiative
Funded through an annual State appropriation and periodically augmented through voter-approved bond referenda, the Maine Economic Improvement Fund (MEIF) provides university-based researchers with the capital necessary to leverage federal and private sector research grants and contracts. Those grants and contracts, in turn, create and sustain economic development through new jobs, products, technologies, companies, and opportunities. For information, visit