Although it minimizes the contribution of yachting to global pollution, stating that it accounts for “only” 0.22% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the shipping sector, the luxury superyacht builder Sanlorenzo wants to lead the way on the path to green yachting.
One of the most prestigious builders in the world of superyachts, the Italian Sanlorenzo has a very bold plan. It wants to manage the design and construction of an entirely new type of yacht that could run exclusively on green methanol. This futuristic pleasure craft would be able to ditch diesel altogether without compromising speed, by combining a fuel cell system with internal combustion engines that run on green methanol.
The brand’s partner for this ambitious goal is none other than Rolls-Royce, who is already well on its way to adapting existing engines for alternative fuels, as well as developing new ones with various applications, including maritime transportation.
However, you can’t just go from conventional yachting straight to a brand-new kind of boat. This methanol-powered pleasure craft would be the final step in a long process that’s about to unfold in multiple stages. Sanlorenzo shared more about it at boot Düsseldorf, the long-awaited boating event that began on January 21 and will continue until January 29.
It was the perfect venue for that, since the Italian builder is this year’s boot Düsseldorf Project Partner for the Blue Innovation Dock (a platform that brings together players in the maritime industry, with a focus on new, sustainable developments).
For the first step, Sanlorenzo will test something called a “combined reformer/fuel cell module” onboard one of its 50Steel units. This particular project began in 2022, in collaboration with Siemens Energy. Siemens was in charge of designing this module specifically for the 50Steel yacht, and integrating it onboard the new vessel. This is only meant to generate power for the yacht’s onboard systems, other than propulsion (known as hotel electric power).
The system is currently undergoing preliminary tests before it will be installed on the first unit in the Sanlorenzo 50Steel series, next year.
For the second step, Sanlorenzo will work with Lloyd’s Register (the world’s first marine classification society) to develop high-capacity storage tanks for methanol. This will enable carbon-neutral navigation in hybrid propulsion mode. Only after this step is accomplished, the brand will then move to the final goal of switching to all-green propulsion for superyachts.
At a smaller scale, Sanlorenzo is supporting sustainability through the Bluegame brand, which is gearing up to launch a hydrogen-powered boat this year. The BGH has already been selected to become American Magic’s chase boat during the 37th America’s Cup, next year. In a few years, it will also be joined by the BGM65HH, featuring a hybrid-propulsion system developed together with Volvo Penta. More details about these boats will be revealed this year, when the BGH is officially launched.