The Mekafin is an electric outboard motor engine that, instead of a propeller, uses an innovative biomimetic propulsion system that mimics the up-and-down oscillating motion of a dolphin’s tail.
Origin of the Idea
Inventor Brice Thouret approached me a couple of years ago to work on a mechanical fin concept based on his invention (view his patent). The first concept we created was named Iruka (The Japanese translation of Dolphin). We asked students from a college and a university to work on this project while Thouret continued working on his prototypes. The third generation of his invention now bears the name Mekafin.
How it Works
The Mekafin biomimetic system converts the rotation of an electric motor into an oscillatory movement, similar to the tail of a dolphin. The way the vortices move behind the wing increases efficiency and thrust compared to a propeller. The wing of the Mekafin recuperates a significant portion of the kinetic energy coming from the ship’s wake.
The amplitude of the movement, the speed, and the blade’s surface as well as its shape all impact the boat’s dynamic. It will be possible to adapt them to each boat and to the requirements of the user (Fishing, VS cruising). The Mekafin is configured differently than its predecessor since the mechanical fin and its oscillating mechanism are located inside its frame and body. To direct the boat, one simply needs to turn the Mekafin left or right using a lever or a cable.
The shape of the Mekafin was inspired by Evinrude’s G2 outboard engine. To adapt the design, it was necessary to develop a new body to protect the upward and downward movements of the fin while optimizing the stability and durability of the mechanism.
The first Mekafin model will be equipped with a 600-watt DC motor to power its oscillating propulsion system (OPS). This combination will generate up to 100 pounds of thrust. Preliminary measurements carried out on one of the prototypes measured efficiency superior to electric motors on the market.
Mekafin is a quiet, personal outboard engine that offers an excellent alternative to traditional propeller engines. It does not emit CO2, and it could use solar or wind energy to recharge its batteries from the dock. The probability of injuring passengers or marine life will be reduced given the low speed of oscillation compared to propellers. This engine primarily targets cottage owners living next to lakes. If you are interested in this project, I invite you to contact Brice Thouret directly by clicking here.
I would like to thank Martin Rico for creating the images of the Mekafin concept. Martin lives near Buenos Aires, Argentina. He studied Design at the University of Buenos Aires and now works as a freelance Industrial Designer. Martin also designed the Seataci yacht and the Isakwa robotic food cart for Imaginactive.