These days the words “Global Warming” and “Climate change” are thrown around with relative ease. The truth is that even if you don’t believe in manmade climate change, you can agree with the concept of using an alternate source of energy to power your house, vehicle, or boat. So why not use alternative energy to power a, oh I don’t know, a super-yacht.
I know that it sounds kind of science fiction, to power a huge luxury boat by only using sunlight. However, if you think about it, we have been using alternative energy to power our ships and boats for thousands of years. The wind was our biggest ally when we circumnavigated the globe or reached distant lands. Why would harness the power of the sun to propel our luxury yacht be so fantastic of a feat?
A luxury super-yacht costs money, but not simply to buy, but also to maintain. Just propelling the ship forward costs a ton of money. A 180′ super-yacht costs $4.75 million annually to maintain and run, Kitty McGowan of the U.S. Super-yacht Association says. Among the costs: $400,000 for fuel, $350,000 for dockage, $240,000 for vessel insurance, $1 million for maintenance and repairs, and $1.4 million for crew salaries.
Now look at the fuel price, 400k that fuel doesn’t magically take you from point A to B. You will have to dock, refuel, and don’t get me started on when there is stormy weather, the more power you need to propel the yacht forward, the more fuel you waste.
Imagine a super-yacht that doesn’t need to dock for fuel. Well doesn’t need to anchor that often at least. Imagine a yacht that is powered by a nuclear engine! Ok that is a little bit farfetched (not that much since submarines do it all the time), but how about by solar panels?
Anyone who has gone to a port to board a ship is familiar with the scent of diesel fuel from the ship’s engine, but can you imagine if that ship ran on power generated by super-efficient solar panels?
Ok solar panels aren’t that efficient in producing high amounts of energy (yet), but hybrid engines can, and they are highly eco-friendly. The most apparent application of eco-friendly technology is in the growing use of hybrid and all-electric drive systems. In 2017 the Dutch shipyard Heesen debuted ‘Home,’ an elegant 50m super-yacht with a hybrid powertrain.
Hybrids offer multiple benefits to yachts of this scale, not least the savings they bring to fuel-ravenous engines. Hybrid engines give yacht owners, not just an eco-friendly option, but also a very silent super-yacht that moves gently through the waves.
Another leading shipyard, Feadship, has presented a series of FFC projects (‘Feadship Future Concepts’) since 2006, each illustrating how new low-energy technologies might filter into high-end design. In 2015, the yard also completed the 83.5m Savannah, the world’s first hybrid super-yacht. These hybrid yachts have a 30% energy waste reduction. That is a lot of reduction for a luxury yacht/ Maybe we will never see a completely eco-friendly super-yacht, and perhaps that makes it hard to defend them, but even if new technology lowers their carbon footprint and energy consumption by 50%, that is we must strive towards. Eco-friendly energy is the future, if we want to have a future that is, and it is everyone’s duty, be they a multi-millionaire super-yacht owner, or someone that bought a Prius, or even if you just try to do your bit by recycling, this is the only planet we have, lets at least try to take care of it. We talked about some cool yachts, but check out these five great eco-friendly ones that do make a difference in the way you travel.