Even people who can afford a luxury motor yacht, shouldn’t have to spend more on marine fuel than they have to. In fact, fuel is probably the largest expense of motor yacht ownership, with an average yearly cost of about $2000-2500 per foot!
And yet, while drivers who have felt the pinch of rising fuel costs have been offered a number of alternatives from hybrids to full electric cars, the boating industry has been a little slower to introduce alternatives. However, yielding to the pressure of increasing marine fuel costs, that is all changing. There are several boats in concept phase and even already out on the water, that can run on alternative fuels, as hybrids, and/or on fully electric power.
Fuel economy and efficiency are not the only factors driving the development of alternative propulsion technology for motor yachts. The yachting industry as a whole has been pushing to be greener and reduce the impact that recreational boating has on the marine environment.
In fact, at the current Marine Equipment Trade Show (METS) which wraps up today, November 16th in Amsterdam, sustainability and green technologies was one of the most pervasive themes of the conference.
Many developers of battery systems and other hybrid technology integrators for hybrid yachts were key exhibitors at the show. Speaking to NauticExpo Magazine, Engel-Jan de Boer, with Lloyd’s Register, one such exhibit at METS, said, “Lloyd’s Register (LR) has been involved with many yacht-related hybrid projects, from sailing to motor yachts.” LR develops battery packs for hybrid systems. De Boer went on to say that, “By ensuring that the likelihood of fire propagation in battery packs is minimized, and by carrying out sensible risk assessments in conjunction with an appropriately trained crew, these propulsion systems are set to significantly gain market share.”
A spokesman for another battery developer, DNV GL, said, “We see hybrid and electric propulsion as one of the most important new trends, especially for the leisure and yacht segments.”
Some of these new battery technologies were on display at METS, aboard the world’s first hybrid superyacht, the 275-foot Savannah, built by Feadship.
What About Natural Gas and Solar Power?
In addition to breakthroughs in all-electric and hybrid power as alternative prolusion sources for yachts, there are several other “green,” options being considered. One that is gaining steam, so to speak, is natural gas.
Natural gas is already being used across the country as an alternative to home heating oil, and many fleets of busses and other commercial vehicles have been introduced that run on natural gas. A North Carolina start-up, Blue Gas Marine, has built a prototype sport fishing boat that runs on natural gas. The Intrepid 327 center-console fishing boat is a hybrid, powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) as well as gasoline, and is propelled by twin Mercury 300HP Verado outboards.
The man behind Blue Gas, entrepreneur and longtime boater Miguel Guerreiro, said, “rather than designing a brand new engine, we developed a system that augments a gasoline engine. This system converts a boat engine into a natural gas/gasoline hybrid, capable of operating in three modes: gasoline only, natural gas only, or a dual-fuel mode that combines the two fuels.”
Guerreiro says that his system can reduce a boater’s annual fuel costs by up to 70%, and lower fuel consumption by 40%, compared to a typical gasoline engine of similar size and power. The company also says that the system reduces air and water pollution by as much as 70%.
As far as solar power, it is also seriously being considered as an alternative fuel for luxury yachts. In one of the most highly anticipated superyacht projects of the 2017, Swedish studio Dennis Ingemansson Design, has joined forces with the Turkish shipyard Ned Ship Group, to collaborate on the 137 foot luxury catamaran, Solar Dream.
The design for the solar-powered superyacht proposes a nearly 1200 square foot solar cell area and hybrid propulsion solution. With a hull constructed from carbon fiber composites and weighing in at approximately 1000 gross tons, the yacht is expected to reach a top speed of 22 knots with minimal output. According to Ingemansson, “Solar Dream offers a luxurious experience, with three guest rooms that can accommodate ten people and double owner’s suites. Once this smart beauty gets into the water, it can become a green icon.”
The solar-powered super-cat is expected to launch sometime in 2018; watch these pages for future milestones on the project.
Other Alternative Fuels for Boats
Other alternative fuels in use or being considered for marine engines include propane and bio-fuels. Los Angeles-based engine maker Lehr, offers a wide range of engines and equipment that can run on liquid propane, including a growing line of outboards.
Biobutanol is a bio-fuel made by the fermentation of agricultural materials. As a marine fuel it holds promise because it does not show the separation or other problems of ethanol when blended with gasoline.
Evinrude demonstrated the viability of this fuel blend at the 2015 Miami International Boat Show, using a Crevalle 25 bay boat powered by a 300HP Evinrude E-Tec G2.
Fuel Services at Our Marina
Until yachts that can run on alternative fuels become the norm, you can keep your fuel costs down by buying your fuel from a reputable supplier.
As a fuel supplier, we are now selling fuel to our customers, as well as any boats in the marina. When you fill up with us you can be sure you are getting only top quality diesel, or authentic Rec 90 gasoline specified for marine engines.
Our fuel prices are significantly lower than any other marina in the area, and we offer even greater savings with preferred fuel prices to yachts that sign up for our On Demand Management Services, or our Charter Income Program.
We will even deliver fuel, diesel or gasoline, right to your boat, no matter where she is docked!
Never Run On Empty!
Having a cost effective and convenient way to refuel your yacht, is only one way that we keep your motor yacht all “gassed up” and ready to go. Our On Demand yachting solution is designed to take all of the hassles out of luxury yacht ownership. From fuel, to crew, to routine maintenance, our On Demand clients are never left feeling like they are running on empty!
Operating a motor yacht can be costly. You can reduce your expenses, and avoid costly repairs by keeping her well maintained. On Demand yachting from FYM can help. If you would like to learn more, or if you have any questions or comments about this blog post, do not hesitate to contact our Yacht Management specialists, or call us at (954) 900-9968.
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