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Lürssen lifts the lid on first superyacht powered by fuel cell technology

27 April 2021 • Written by Miranda Blazeby

German superyacht yard Lürssen has revealed new details about its first superyacht project powered by fuel cell technology.

The sale of the project was first announced by Lürssen managing partner Peter Lürssen on the Lürssen Live talk show during a conversation about alternative propulsion technologies.

Now Lürssen has revealed that the yacht, which has been commissioned by a “pioneering and technology-driven client”, will feature a fuel cell driven by hydrogen, which is continuously reformed from methanol.

The technology will allow the owner to spend more than 15 nights at anchor or cruise of more than 1,000 nautical miles, both completely emissions-free.

Methanol was chosen over elemental hydrogen, the shipyard said, due to its higher energy density, simplicity of handling and world-wide availability. Additionally, methanol can be stored in structural tanks at the bottom of the yacht unlike pressurised liquefied hydrogen, which needs to be stored above the tank top in extensive tank structures.

The fuel cell will flank the conventional generators on board and is described as a “big step to an emission free Lürssen yacht”.

“My grandfather built the world’s first motorboat in 1886, my dream is to be the first to build a yacht without a combustion engine,” said Lürssen.

Alongside the superyacht, Lürssen revealed it has set up an Innovation Laboratory, which will be used to simulate and test the installation of a Marine Hybrid Fuel Cell System on board a yacht.

“The Innovation Laboratory will be ready in summer 2021 and under real life ambient conditions and with all required auxiliary systems we consider this demonstration plant to be the final preparations to bring fuels cells on board a yacht successfully. It will definitely bring us a step closer to a CO2 emission-free Lürssen yacht,” said Dr Justus Reinke, managing director of Lürssen.

Speaking on the talk show, Lürssen said the sale showed clear confidence in the technology and would help further alternative propulsion technology within the superyacht industry.

“I think it’s a clear signal that owners who already invest substantial amounts in building yachts are willing to invest that extra bit of money to go and dare say make that quantum leap of furthering propulsion technology and power technology on a yacht and this will be a game-changer especially since it has a lot of practical use," he said. 

Delivery is scheduled for 2025.

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