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Boating Industry Approaches Greener Future

From yacht design to eco-friendly charter amenities, the boating world is changing for the better.

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Project Oslo24
Heesen’s Project Oslo24 will have a hybrid drivetrain that draws on diesel engines and electric motors. Courtesy Heesen Yachts

Eco-friendly cruising ideas, products and options are now popping up everywhere in the marine world. From yacht construction to engine manufacturing, some of the biggest-name players are making announcement after announcement about ways they’re working to make cruising greener.

For instance, take Heesen Yachts, the Netherlands-based mega-yacht builder that started construction on the 164-foot Project Oslo24 in October. That yacht will reportedly have a hybrid drivetrain that can operate on diesel, electric or a combination of both.

“We were the first shipyard who dared to take the financial risk of building hybrid yachts on speculation, and today, all our yachts are available with hybrid propulsion as an option,” Heesen chief commercial officer Friso Visser said in announcing the build’s start. “‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ is our mantra.”

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Hynova 42
The Hynova 42 is now in the prototype phase with several versions available for preorder. Courtesy Hynova

That phrase could also be the mantra at Hynova Yachts in France, which is developing electro-hydrogen yachts. The Hynova 42, shown above, is now in the prototype phase with several versions available for preorder. They are intended to be used as stand-alone boats or as tenders to superyachts.

Also taking center stage right now is MAN, the big engine-maker, which this past September unveiled its Smart Hybrid Experience. The technology that MAN created can be combined with all the MAN marine engines in the current V-12 D2862, V-8 D2868 and inline six-cylinder D2676 series. According to the company, this makes MAN the first engine supplier to offer a complete hybrid system from a single source, arguably making it easier for boatbuilders to offer and install these kinds of systems.

Boat engine
MAN’s Smart Hybrid Experience components work with the smallest inline six-cylinder engines and the most powerful V-12s. Courtesy MAN Engines

And then there is Silent-Yachts, which recently announced the sale of Hull No. 1 of its flagship model: the Silent 100 Explorer. Between that yacht’s solar-electric drivetrain and battery-bank capacity, the company is projecting a top speed of 14 to 16 knots with world-cruising capabilities.

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“This new sale coming after the sale of three of our 80-foot models in rapid succession confirms the market’s interest in the superior comfort of catamarans and solar energy for propulsion needs, as well as all the household appliances on board,” Silent-Yachts founder and CEO Michael Köhler said when announcing the deal to build the boat.

Silent 100 Explorer
Silent’s 100 Explorer is projected to have a top speed of 14 to 16 knots with world-cruising capabilities. Courtesy Silent-Yachts

He might be right. But, for sure, no matter whether we’re talking hybrid-electric, electro-hydrogen or solar-electric yachts, the eco-conscious future is making its big entrance onto the yachting scene.  

Good Thinking: MAN Smart Hybrid Experience

MAN says its Smart Hybrid Experience components can be positioned on the diesel engine in front of the marine drive as well as separated from the diesel engine by an electromagnetic clutch. This setup lets yachtsmen switch operating modes without stopping the engine. The components work with the smallest inline six-cylinder engines and the most powerful V-12s.

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Deep Blue lithium-ion battery
Torqeedo’s Deep Blue lithium-ion battery can combine with Italdraghe’s azimuth thrusters, allowing for emissions-free power with directional thrust. Courtesy Torqeedo

A Look Ahead: Future Possibilities

Commercial tech tends to trickle down into recreational boating, so it’s notable that Torqeedo teamed with Italdraghe to create outboard, retractable propulsion for commercial vessels on inland waterways. The system combines Torqeedo’s Deep Blue lithium-ion battery with Italdraghe’s azimuth thrusters, allowing for emissions-free power with directional thrust.

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