Andrea Micheli – Chief Commercial Office
Today I am glad to report about a refreshing experience on sustainability in the yachting industry.
Shipyards are directly stimulated by the end users and are often urged by ambitious owners to deliver the best quality and moreover, to focus on doing it in a sustainable way.
The efforts for a more sustainable yachting are increasingly substantial and start considering the entire Life Cycle of a yacht. Life Cycle Assessment approach is more thorough than simply considering the environmental impact of the construction of the yacht and it is much fairer to sailing yachts, which obviously comes as a good news for Southern Wind!
Any effort made by a boat builder to offer a more sustainable yacht, becomes ineffectual if not supported by the whole yachting spinneret, of which Marinas play a pivotal role in the energy supply.
There will be little evolution in the way energy is converted on board of yachts if there are little or late investments on the shore power supply offers (being them in the form of high-speed electric charging points, biofuels, Hydrogen, Methanol etc).
I have been recently contacted by Camille Lopez, Founding President of HY-Plug, a company born from the desire to contribute to the energy transition by connecting the players of the yachting Industry. The Saint Tropez Marina commissioned to HY-Plug a survey to understand how a Marina should adapts its offer and technology to fulfill the evolving energetic needs of the yachts. This survey tells a lot about how serious Saint Tropez Marina is about getting ready to support the technical evolution of their customers.
As a builder of sailing superyachts that are intended to sail to the remotest corners of the world, we have been requested our opinion on how yachts will change their energy request over the years. It was a good opportunity for me to share Southern Wind approach to a more sustainable yachting and to talk about our decision to conduct a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) on our yachts, analyzing, not only the carbon footprint of the yacht’s construction, but also the impact, in terms of CO2 emission, connected to the use of a boat. See more here.
Hydrogen or Methanol (ideally and as much as possible bio-methanol) do not seem a short-term option for yachts like Southern Winds, built to travel around the globe, since a large number of marinas all over the world will not be able to refill them.
Southern Wind Hybrigen® power generation and transmission developed with BAE Systems allow greater efficiency than traditional generation and propulsion methods, which translates into significant fuel saving, further enhanced by hydrogeneration available while sailing.
On Southern Wind yachts we could envisage the above systems to be powered by a combination of fuel cells (using bio-methanol or methanol, when bio-methanol is not available) and Internal Combustion Engine [ICE] (still using biofuel or fossil fuels): we do not imagine a complete independency from ICE until the alternative fuels supply grid will become global. We could imagine an easier and faster transition on those yachts which do not have worldwide cruising ambitions, but they fall out of our focus.
There is a very good news for us: the more you sail, the less fuel you burn…so while waiting to get the zeroe-mission fuel being available, sail as much as you can!