Digital: D-ICE Engineering, smart systems for the maritime and offshore industries

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© D-ICE Engineering

D-ICE Engineering is a Nantes-based startup that specialises in digital twins for maritime and offshore assets as well as providing the most advanced navigation, control and decision support systems for ships and offshore wind turbines. This interview features Sylvain Faguet, the company’s Chief Sales Officer.

How was D-ICE Engineering created?

D-ICE is, first and foremost, the story of three engineers driven by a common passion: the ocean. Together, they share three ambitious goals: reducing carbon footprints, improving safety at sea, and developing marine renewable energies.

Today, D-ICE relies on a multidisciplinary team of more than 30 people (mathematicians, physicists, computer scientists, artificial intelligence researchers, etc.) working on high-profile projects such as Canopée, the first modern sailing cargo ship to carry the Ariane 6 rocket, and Neoliner, the first large industrial sailing ship to transport goods.

What is your flagship product and how does it differ from other tools on the market?

Our flagship product, OCEANiCS, is much more than a navigation system. It represents a revolution in the maritime industry, integrating cutting-edge technology to reduce vessel consumption, ensure safe operations and optimise performance. By combining revolutionary digital twins with cutting-edge artificial intelligence, our certified platform delivers unrivalled performance, by reducing consumption while enhancing crew and vessel safety.

What makes OCEANiCS even more remarkable is its versatility. It can be adapted to any type of vessel, regardless of size or operation, whether it’s a refit or a new build. This adaptability ensures that our technology can be effectively integrated on all vessels, bringing revolutionary benefits to a wide range of customers. Last but not least, OCEANiCS is recognised as one of the most advanced systems available for wind propulsion vessels and is the nerve centre of iconic vessels such as Canopée or Neoliner Origin.

© D-ICE Engineering

Which sectors are you targeting first?

Our company operates in two main markets: marine and offshore.

  • In the marine sector, we are targeting two distinct sectors:
    • The market for vessels with wind propulsion is an area in which we aim to become an international leader by exploiting the most advanced technologies on the market, which is the result of intensive research carried out since the company was founded.
    • Conventional vessels now benefit from our proven technologies, enabling them to achieve fuel savings throughout their lifecycle.
  • In the offshore market, our technological innovations enable better planning and management of operations, improving efficiency, effectiveness, and safety. These advances are particularly relevant to the offshore wind energy sector, where new control methods are paving the way for solving major operational challenges.

In addition, our products are characterised by their low-noise design, long service life, minimal obsolescence, and ease of installation in very short timeframes, making them crucial for refits. Effective management of ship refits is essential to achieving the International Maritime Organisation’s Net-Zero goals, and there are currently few solutions on the market today that offer such comprehensive benefits.

How does the Atlantic France environment contribute to D-ICE Engineering’s success?

The dynamic ecosystem of the Atlantic France region plays a key role in the success of D-ICE Engineering. Based on the campus of the École Centrale of Nantes, where many of our company’s researchers and engineers come from, we benefit from this institution’s recognised expertise in marine engineering and its invaluable wave tank for carrying out tests. In addition, our collaboration with local partners in the Atlanpole and Neopolia clusters strengthens our positioning and stimulates our innovation.

Our close collaboration with regional academics in fields such as fluid mechanics and hull aerodynamics strengthens our modelling expertise. In addition, our close links with prestigious shipowners such as Zéphyr et Borée, Neoline, and the Sogestran group, as well as our partnerships with shipyards such as Merré and Chantiers de l’Atlantique, and naval architects, enrich our projects and enable us to innovate continuously.

What’s more, Nantes’ thriving digital environment and exceptional quality of life attract a wealth of talent, making it easy to recruit and strengthen our team. Overall, the Atlantic France regional ecosystem provides D-ICE Engineering with a fertile ground for developing innovative and sustainable solutions in the field of marine engineering.

© D-ICE Engineering

What support have you received from the Atlantic France Regional Council?

The Atlantic France Regional Council has been a key supporter of D-ICE Engineering’s development. We have benefited from regional subsidies for our research and development projects, which have enabled us to turn our innovative ideas into reality. We recently signed a new agreement for a European project in collaboration with Gustave Eiffel University and partners from Sweden, Italy, and Spain, demonstrating our international outlook and the trust placed in us by the regional authorities.

Our growth has also been supported by a number of financing initiatives, including the participation of the Pays de la Loire Development Regional Fund, followed by the Pays de la Loire Participations Fund. This involvement of regional funds underlines the importance of our company in the local economic ecosystem.

In addition, the regional agency Solutions&co has played a key role in organising collective spaces at major events in our sector, such as Seanergy, Wind for Goods, and the Assises de la Mer. At these events, we were regularly present at the regional pavilion, which greatly increased our visibility and reputation in the industry.

What are D-ICE Engineering’s future plans and ambitions?

D-ICE Engineering has ambitious future projects and goals aligned with the challenges of decarbonation and achieving Net-Zero. With our products now certified and the first installations successfully in operation, we aim to consolidate our position by accelerating our international expansion. With this in mind, we plan to raise a new Series A round of funding to expand our global footprint and maximise the positive impact of our solutions.

Our current cutting-edge projects and strong partnerships with key industry players strengthen our strategic position and open up new opportunities for collaboration and development. We aim to be the leader in high-performance, environmentally-friendly navigation systems, a vision we have been nurturing for more than nine years.

With a young, dynamic, and highly motivated team, we are fully committed to achieving our mission: to meet the great challenge of decarbonising the maritime sector. Our determination will guide us every step of the way, and we believe we have the resources and passion to reach our ambitious goals.

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