speed of light

Powering superyachts at the “speed of light”

A green superyacht sounds like an oxymoron, yet the marine environment is one of the most carefully regulated in the world.

Simply put, the bigger the boat, the more rigorous the rules that govern it. Take, for example, the shipping industry, which is responsible for 2% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

While sailors of traditional sailing boats might look mockingly at the attempts of fellow mariners to mitigate their impact on the ocean, more and more superyacht owners are now looking for ways to ensure that their yacht is as operationally green as possible. Many want to minimize their impact on the environment while still enjoying the acceleration and accessories of the yachting life.

What if it were possible to have all the comforts of home and power on a superyacht while going green as well? It’s a challenging endeavor, yet one that’s more and more feasible these days.

First, the problem. To start with, mechanical engines on superyachts waste a lot of power. Since they’re powered with internal combustion engines emitting thermal energy, they exhibit slow response times and hesitate upon acceleration. They also have an excess of power that is underutilized. With a typical load profile, many superyachts run at partial loads and only occasionally experience spikes in power demand. This low engine load, consequently, leads to low exhaust temperatures and greater fuel consumption.

So, what’s the solution? Perhaps the most obvious application of eco-friendly technology is in the growing use of hybrid and electric propulsion systems with PM machines.

Unlike thermal power, electrical energy propagates at nearly the speed of light. Think of a light switch. When you flip on the light switch, the electrons travel near the speed of light to the light bulb. The same goes for PM machines. Once they’re activated, power is instantly transferred to the power train, enabling faster acceleration. Not only does the electric propulsion system deliver “light-speed” acceleration, it also provides a silent running mode, excellent maneuverability, and lower emissions, meaning they can be IMO 2020 compliant.

So, now it’s possible to cruise along the coast or moor in port while running silently, or leverage the near-instantaneous boost of electric propulsion when on the high seas. And throughout your voyage, you’ll also be cutting down on energy costs by optimizing your power usage.

With access to hybrid and fully electrical systems, superyachts can become more eco-friendly. Shipowners are eager to have “leaner and greener” boats, and the industry is increasingly aware of trying to change its image.

All in all, a silent, clean yacht with exuberant speed is now possible without wasting a single drop of oil.

You can thank PM machines that act as fast as light.