For yacht owners who love the ocean, protecting marine life is just as important as enjoying your time on board. From hybrid engines to high-tech waste water treatment, new developments in naval architecture and design are helping superyachts reduce their environmental impact. We discover the innovative technologies behind the world's most eco-friendly and sustainable superyachts below...
Sustainable superyachts: The world's most eco-friendly yachts
The 109 metre Bravo Eugenia is highly efficient despite her impressive size. The Oceanco-built superyacht is powered by a hybrid propulsion engine that offers a quiet electric mode and which allows her to consume 30% less fuel than other motor yachts in her size class. She is also equipped with a waste heat recovery system and an integrated battery for optimal operation and performance.
But the main source of her supreme sustainability lies in the technicalities of her design. Bravo Eugenia is the first yacht to feature the Dutch shipyard’s innovative new LIFE design – a system designated to yachts that are specifically “Lengthened, Innovative, Fuel-efficient and Eco-friendly.” Lateral Naval Architects have ensured a harmonious balance between the yacht’s weight, power, technical areas and interior areas, in particular giving her a super sleek exterior which increases her aerodynamic shape. Although her exterior is decidedly streamlined, there’s still plenty of space on board this 3,418 GT superyacht as the engine room has been condensed to just one floor instead of two to offer greater volumes within her Reymond Langton-designed living spaces.
Yersin has been designed to protect the natural world while discovering its most remote corners. The 76.6 metre Piriou explorer yacht, which has been classified as a Bureau Veritas Clean Ship and boasts a 15,000 nautical mile cruising range, was designed by Pierre-Jacques Kubis for private discovery voyages and has also been chartered for scientific expeditions led by the Monaco Exploration Society. She was constructed from 95% recyclable materials, including her recyclable resin decks that substituted wood for a more sustainable alternative.
To minimise her impact, Yersin’s ice-classed hull has been coated with a non-biocide silicon antifouling layer and she also features dynamic positioning to minimise the impact of her anchor when dropped. Additionally, this highly fuel-efficient superyacht is equipped with filters on all engines that reduce NOx and SOx emissions by 99.8% and retain 99.8% of soot particles to keep the waters she sails through as clean as possible.
Despite her eye-catching exterior, this futuristic-looking Nobiskrug was designed to blend seamlessly with the natural world by reducing her impact as she sails the high seas. Although she is a sizeable yacht measuring 80 metres with a volume of 2.999 GT, Artefact is incredibly silent, extensively soundproofed and equipped with custom six-bladed propellers that minimum noise pollution and vibrations while at sea. Part of what contributes to her quiet cruising is her hybrid diesel-electric system that integrates lithium batteries and which the builder, ABB, says saves 30% of energy and emissions. To further protect the environment, she is equipped with dynamic positioning that allows her to stay stable without dropping the anchor on sensitive areas of the seabed.
An early adopter of the International Maritime Organisation’s Tier III emissions regulations, Artefact also features solar panels and a wastewater recycling system. She carries a large battery storage system too, which means she can at times operate completely independently of internal combustion engines.
The 72 metre Solo boasts serious green credentials. Delivered by Tankoa in 2018, she was one of the first yachts afloat to comply with the International Maritime Organisation’s Tier III regulations that were introduced to limit emissions and water pollution. The eco-friendly superyacht was also awarded the Green Plus Platinum notation, the highest level of environmental certification from the RINA society.
Her naval architect, Vincenzo Ruggiero, has testified that even though she is powered by a standard diesel arrangement, she is about 15% more fuel efficient than if she were powered by a diesel-electric system. To reduce NOx emissions by an average of 80% she is outfitted with a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system by Ecospray Technologies. Other eco-friendly elements include a particulate filter and a nauticlean converter to counteract the exhaust emissions from her generators, as well as an ultrasonic antifouling system that foregoes the use of biocides. Despite all this tech, there’s still plenty of room on board this superyacht for luxury amenities.
Her economical design by Vitruvius and naval architect Philippe Briand is what helps her keep her environmental impact to a minimum; her all-aluminium hull sports a uniquely styled bow that slices through the waves with ease and enhances her fuel efficiency by up to 30% while greatly reducing emissions. While Exuma's efficient design meant reducing space in certain areas on board, she still has plenty to offer her nine guests. Highlights include a hot tub, a fully equipped gym and a well-stocked toy box that carries a range of tenders and gear as well as special 4x4 amphibious vehicles to explore the remote terrains she encounters on her travels.
Heesen superyacht Home pairs a state-of-the-art hybrid propulsion system with a proven Fast Displacement Hull Form by Van Oossanen Naval Architects to reduce her environmental footprint and improve efficiency. She was designed very much as a home on the water by Omega Architects and Cristiano Gatto, with the brief asking for a yacht that was capable of accommodating the owner for most of the year.
According to her naval architects, the 50 metre Home is 48% more efficient than other yachts of her size. She can cruise in four different modes depending on the situation; an “eco mode,” a “quiet mode” using electric motors and reducing sound pollution and a "diesel model" for cruising quicker passages. The final feature is the special “boost mode,” which combines diesel and electric for added power on the water.
Another eco-friendly yacht by Tankoa, the 50-metre Bintador was launched in 2019 and features a hybrid-propulsion system courtesy of hybrid specialists e-Motion. Using traditional propulsion under the power of her twin MTU 8V 4000 M54 engines, Bintador can reach a speed of 16.5 knots, topping out at 18 knots when switching to “boost mode” which combines the power of both MTU engines and her 300kW electric motors. When speed is not a requirement, Bintador can change down into her "diesel-electric" and "hybrid" modes, which are significantly more eco-friendly and more fuel efficient than a traditional superyacht engine system.
The propulsion package on this Francesco Paszkowski-designed superyacht has been developed using e-Motion's advanced technology that and allows for her to cruise comfortably and quietly over a range of 5,000 nautical miles.
Despite measuring an impressive 107 metres LOA and with a volume of 5,844 GT, the sizable superyacht Luminosity is powered by green energy. The newly-launched Benetti features a unique diesel-electric propulsion system with clean exhausts and a battery bank that allows for up to 12 hours of silent operation at anchor. A considerable engineering feat, Luminosity runs on six 1,000kW generators that power two Azipods to help reduce fuel consumption by as much as 20%.
And while her internal tech helps reduce her footprint, Luminosity’s exterior is also eco-friendly. Complementing the angular styling of the yacht is a straight bow which increases her waterline length and reduces wave-making resistance for greater efficiency. At a cruising speed of 10 knots, Luminosity also offers a range of more than 8,000 nautical miles.
Black Pearl is the world's most advanced superyacht, offering true zero-emissions cruising, which is unheard of on a boat of her scope and size. The yacht's controllable pitch propellers feed power back into the ship via a pair of shaft generators, providing enough power to support the yacht's hotel load.
The owner's brief for the 106.7 metre sailing superyacht from Oceanco included building a "zero impact" yacht. The owner wanted to prove that it was possible to not be dependent on consuming natural resources.
Energy is saved at every turn, from the HVAC system to her advanced DynaRig sails that allow Black Pearl to take advantage of the eco-friendly natural resource of the wind. Black Pearl also will only have reusable water bottles on board to prevent needless waste from being created.
It's not just her seafoam exterior that makes 83.5 metre Feadship yacht Savannah a green machine. This 2015 launch uses the Dutch yard's pioneering Breathe propulsion system - which allows for five different operation modes from diesel and diesel-electric combinations to fully electric.
Power comes from a 30-tonne lithium-ion battery bank capable of holding a million watts of electricity. But even in diesel mode, Savannah is highly efficient, with 30 per cent lower fuel consumption than her contemporaries thanks to her dynamic hull shape and steep entrance angle.