Swiss Sustainable Yachts has brought a catamaran which is a giant leap towards sustainability. The 64-footer harnesses solar energy to create its own hydrogen, powering a fuel cell-electric drive to potentially limitless autonomy. The model is called Aquon One.
It has a 134-hp fuel cell-powered electric engine in each hull. The company explains that it opts for hydrogen power it is lightweight as compared to batteries or fossil fuels, has a long-lasting storage capability, and lacks harmful emissions. A solar-powered electrolyzer splits hydrogen from desalinated seawater. Hence, the process to make hydrogen is also green. The 689 square feet (64 sq m) of solar panels covering the Aquon One’s hardtop generate all the electricity needed to develop the hydrogen, which is then stored away in carbon tanks.
It has a small battery bank for short-term energy needs, both for propulsion and onboard electrical usage. However, the hydrogen is compressed and destined for longer-term use. The hydrogen tanks store 100 times the energy of a full-size modern battery system. It offers more range and capability than it would get by expanding the size of its battery.
However, its claim to be “limitless” is only applicable with plenty of suns and the vessel ducking below the 8-knot (15 km/h) cruising speed to stay within 4- to 6-knot (7.4 to 11 km/h) speeds. This means that it’s going to take a while to putter from point A to B. It can be a slower cruise than expected.
This concept is especially expected to facilitate an expedition-class yacht meant to explore remote parts of the world. The yacht is best suggested to be used for island-hopping, weekend trips, and other short excursions.
There is also a water recycling system in the yacht that separates gray and black water, purifies, and gives the water second life. It is built through sustainable methods and materials, including bamboo. An electric tender makes sure that shorter trips are as quiet and emissions-free as the primary vessel.
The yacht is 2,691 square feet (250 sq m) of living space tied together by smart energy management, state-of-the-art communications, and a connected appliance suite that comprises the fridge, washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, and more. Mobile device control makes it easy to increase ventilation, lower or raise window shades, or adjust the lighting.
The vehicle starts up high with the wide-open flybridge below the solarized hardtop, hosting an open-air social space with a full U-shaped lounge, outdoor kitchen with grill, and bar. The main deck includes indoor social spaces, a living room with large glass windows and its own terrace, a dining area, and the main kitchen. The lower deck has the master and guest bedrooms, bathrooms, and crew quarters.
The yacht was displayed through Fraser Yachts and was given the price of €6 million (approx. US$6.8 million). Latvian shipyard Latitude Yachts will handle construction, and the first deliveries are planned for 2023.