Pioneering project sees green yacht become reality
By: Ronno Schouten (Engineering Manager, De Voogt Naval Architects) & Johan de Jong (Manager Electrical Systems, Imtech Marine & Offshore)
Imtech Marine has played a key role in a pioneering project that has given the participants an enormous chance to be the forerunners in green yacht technology.
Launched in 2008, the project was initiated by the Dutch luxury yacht builder Feadship and De Voogt Naval Architects. Imtech Marine, Voith Turbo and MTU Detroit Diesel were the other partners in the three-year project.
The project took a two-pronged approach in that it examined all of the components which are used in building a yacht including a comparison of the pros and cons of diesel electric, direct diesel engines and a hybrid system (using both diesel electric and direct diesel).
Then the team investigated how a yacht can be made as green as possible. This included exhaust gas filtering, reducing resistance and installing solar panels. Everything was taken into account, exhaust emissions, maintenance etc., but all whilst focusing on the sailing profile of the boat.
Economically smart and green
One of the fundamental issues we wanted to address concerned the real benefits of diesel electric systems as the typical use of a yacht differs from that of a commercial ship.
Diesel electric engines in cruise ships, ferries or offshore vessels are used in a very different way to yachts, which probably spend quite some time in port, make shorter journeys, anchor a lot and they tend to travel at full speed for relatively short times.
And as well as looking at the green possibilities, it was vital that the yacht should not lose any speed or comfort. The answers needed to be economically smart and green.
Imtech Marine largely concentrated on diesel electric propulsion and using batteries for energy storage. Most emissions come from going into and out of the harbour because the engines are not at their optimal capacity. So using batteries instead, there is no noise or environmental impact.
Fuel cuts of up to 40%
Imtech Marine has found that it is perfectly possible for the yacht to come into harbour and recharge batteries over 12 hours to give another day’s sailing, meaning that the engines don’t have to be used at all.
A fundamental part of the project has also seen the creation of a model whereby a client’s sailing profile can be fed into the system and they can choose exactly which elements they would like i.e. a hybrid system, with exhaust cleaning and solar panels etc. Clients can customise their yacht with as many green options as they wish.
Feadship has found that this model can result in a yacht design that reduces fuel consumption by a staggering 30%-40%.
In general Imtech Marine is very active in developing several green concepts. Significantly, around 50% of energy is consumed by air conditioning. Imtech Marine has developed several solutions for energy saving in HVAC systems. In other initiatives, Imtech Marine, in its role as sustainable system integrator, stimulates the use of LED lighting instead of fluorescent lighting which can cut energy consumption in half.