Until now, travelling by yacht has been known to be one of the least ecological ways to get around—thanks to brand-new eco-friendly yachts, that could be about to change.
Charming, luxurious and extravagant. Globetrotting on a yacht can be neatly summed up with these three words. However, what about the effect it has on the planet? With conversations about pollution and global warming getting increasingly louder and harder to ignore, taking care of the marine environment has never been more important. How does this form of transport fit into this new way of thinking? According to research, yachts over 100 feet long can guzzle around 530 gallons of marine diesel in just one hour of travelling at 35 knots. This is, roughly, equivalent to six tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per hour.
As a direct response to consumer demand—and new legislations requiring newly built yachts to slash their sulphur and nitrogen oxide emissions by 80 percent in the U.S.—the yachting industry is taking matters into its own hands. In addition to building with sustainable materials, shipyards are incorporating ‘green’ technologies in new yachts such as electric engines, hybrid propulsion systems and fuel-efficient hull designs. Impressive advances of green technology are creating a wave of new designs that are sure to change the future of luxury boating—enter these eco-friendly yachts.
Launched in June 2016 by a Swiss firm of the same name, the Solarwave can be powered entirely by solar panels found on its roof. The first-ever yacht of this kind, it has faced stellar demand—so much so that the manufacturer was forced to create a second production line. Solarwave CEO Michael Köhler said consumer appetite for this new ‘green machine’ was far higher than initially estimated; many have been sold in the U.S., Europe and China. According to the Solarwave website, the price for these nautical works of art starts at $2.2 million.
Unveiled as part of the Monaco Yacht Show 2017 (which took place between 27-30 September), the Gran Turismo Transatlantic 115—developed as a collaboration between Dynamiq and Studio F.A. Porsche—is a true collector’s yacht. Only seven units were created. Sergei Dobroserdov, CEO of Dynamiq, suggests it was also made with the environment in mind: ‘Its hybrid system with three variable-speed generators is based on the principle of building sustainable yachts for the future.’ The super-efficient performing yacht boasts a range of 3,400 nautical miles, reduced noise, vibration and emissions. Prices start from €12 million—accurate at the time of print.
This is a yacht that combines hybrid electrical power with modern elegance and luxury. Its first models were delivered in July 2018. Built to travel and cruise worldwide, the super yacht features high levels of comfort, low noise and vibration levels. The Hybrid Switchboard is the core of the futuristic AMELS 188; combining three energy sources—mechanical, electrical and heat. This super yacht is the result of an 18-month-long research programme geared towards lowering its impact on the environment and operating potential cost savings of €100,000 a year. In addition to the Hybrid Switchboard, other eco-friendly features of this futuristic yacht include a gas purification system and heat-absorbing windows to reduce air conditioning needs. According to the manufacturer, the AMELS 188 is also the first Dutch-built yacht to meet new International Maritime Organisation regulations for yacht emissions.
There are various actions that can be taken at the planning stages to ensure eco-friendly yachts are as green as they can possibly be. From differently shaped hulls that reduce propulsion power and improve performance to synthetic decking, manufacturers are devoting increasing amounts of time and money on creating environmentally conscious yachts that are fit for purpose. Electric Pod drives—for instance—which are powered by diesel generators, increase manoeuvrability, lower maintenance of the yacht and are also effective in reducing fuel consumption at all speeds.
Whether a yacht is chartered or owned, there are certain actions its passengers can consider to decrease their carbon footprint. Using heating and air conditioning systems that are fit for purpose and meet the requirements of the Montreal Protocol—an international treaty regarding substances that deplete the ozone layer—is a strong step towards environmental consciousness, as is using water mist-based fire-fighting systems rather than gas-charged ones.
This feature first appeared in Arts & Collections Volume 3, 2018. Click here to view the digital version of the magazine.