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Ocean Talks 2018: Inside Vripack’s zero-emissions superyacht concept

Marnix Hoekstra and Bart Bouwhuis, creative directors of Vripack, impressed the audience at Ocean Talks 2018 with their designs for a zero-emissions superyacht complete with a pioneering air purifying device…

At the Ocean Talks 2018, the creative directors of yacht design company Vripack shared their latest innovation – the 88 metre Project Utopia superyacht concept. The project began as a design for a support vessel for a very eco-conscious client who wanted to combine the benefits of sailing with the comfort of a motor yacht. The Vripack team, which has long championed its VriThink experimental ethos, created something personal to him that took traditional yacht design to the next level.

After pondering numerous solutions to the problem of burning fuel and discarding waste without creating emissions the team discovered a system that purifies carbon dioxide into harmless substances by splitting CO2 into carbon and oxygen resulting in an 80% reduction of CO2, NOx and SO2. The technology allows dust-like particles and gaseous contaminants to be turned into clean air without noxious contaminants. “We realised that any yacht is not about technology, it’s always about the humans who interact with it and live on the boat we're asked to design,” said Hoekstra. “That was our biggest challenge, to see how we can bring this into the new project.”

The layout of the Utopia concept features a typical set up with four diesel generators powering electrical engines allowing for a low level of emissions while running, but with an exhaust system that runs to two on board purifying chambers, alongside four of the aforementioned devices, instead of out into the atmosphere. The design also features a garden to symbolise the green character of the yacht. “On top of the deck where we had the air purifiers, we placed a garden,” explained Bouwhuis. “By connecting the technical level and the garden level, [it allows] the air purifiers to feed the air into the garden where the plants take care of the remaining CO2.”

The purifying system would be located on the lower deck aft with the garden on the main deck and the owner’s suite located forward on the bridge deck to lower any potential noise or vibrations felt from the system. Space has also been made for a control room in which researchers would be able to observe the system’s operations without affecting the movement or activities of on board guests.

This concept is just one of many innovations to come out of the studio’s trend platform, VriThink, which aims to provide an open stage where forward-thinking ideas can be put forward and global trends can inspire the next generation of yacht owners.

“What we have in common with the dedicated owners who we work for is the deep passion of the ocean. The love for sailing, exploring new worlds with our families, meeting interesting people and bringing all the valuable memories back home,” said Bouwhuis.

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