Archipelago zero.63 catamaran concept

4 images

All images courtesy of Archipelago Yachts

Archipelago Yachts reveals design for first methanol-powered leisure yacht

6 November 2023 • Written by Gabrielle Lazaridis

Archipelago Yachts, along with naval architecture firm Chartwell Marine, has revealed the finished design for its zero-carbon catamaran, the Archipelago zero.63. 

The 19.2-metre project was conceived as a solution to the challenges of marine decarbonisation while intending to set "a new benchmark for sustainability in the leisure marine industry", according to the pair. Powered by bio-methanol, the Archipelago zero.63 presents an innovative parallel hybrid propulsion system, combining clean energy derived from a set of methanol reformers and hydrogen fuel cells. 

In terms of performance, the yacht can achieve silent cruising at speeds of up to 10 knots and a top speed of 22 knots coming from a separate direct-injection methanol engine. The new model has also been envisioned with a range of 2,500 nautical miles supplied by a 10,000-litre methanol tank.

Additional details include a modern, raked pilothouse silhouette with aluminium hulls, concealing accommodation for eight guests in four en suite cabins.

"The yacht will be state of the art for zero-carbon technology, built from low-impact aluminium, using recycled materials wherever possible," said Stephen Weatherley, founder and managing director of Archipelago Yachts. "There are plenty of electric leisure vessels in the market which can travel short distances quickly or long distances slowly, but none can perform in high sea states, cross oceans, and be zero-carbon all at the same time.”

Extensive assessments were conducted in collaboration with Lloyd's Register to ensure the safety and integrity of the vessel in line with industry standards. The project has also been crafted to comply with Innovate UK's Transport Vision 2050 initiative, which aims to incorporate methanol as a viable marine fuel in approximately 25 per cent of the sector by 2050.

Following the conclusion of the design phase, Archipelago Yachts and Chartwell Marine announced plans for a proof of concept – named the Methanol Pathfinder UK – to showcase the project's viability. "[The Methanol Pathfinder UK] promises to be cost-effective to build, making it an attractive proposition for banks and funders. Moreover, its hydrodynamic design, reminiscent of crew and fast ferry transport vessels, opens up opportunities for commercial exploitation and deployment worldwide," the yard explained.

"Utilising methanol as a feedstock for onboard propulsion and hotel loads is a real alternative to using diesel," added managing director of Chartwell Marine Andy Page. "The system developed for the zero.63 is simple, robust and manageable in terms of weight and geometry without significant compromise to the vessel aesthetic, interior or function."

The Archipelago 63 will also be available with hybrid diesel-electric propulsion.

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