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  • Writer's pictureBen & Ciara

Top 5 Sustainable Yachts, Ships, and Vessels

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

These eco-friendly vessels will transform the boating industry!

Boats, yachts, container ships, large vessels, and many more are being transformed and revolutionised to create more sustainable forms of shipping, travel, leisure, and marine research.

With the world’s boats contributing to 18% of all air pollution, too, is it possible to reduce or eliminate these emissions by using new technologies? Can these sustainable boats help stop environmental degradation by using non-harmful power sources such as wind, solar, and hydrogen? We think that the future is bright.

Energy Observer Catamaran

The 100-foot-long Energy Observer Catamaran is the first hydrogen-powered, zero-emission vessel to be entirely self-sufficient! This will hopefully change the way we think about travelling by sea, and how our choices directly affect marine ecosystems.

The idea for the Energy Observer was conceived by master mariner, Victorien Erussard, whose goal was to prove that a yacht could be ‘fully self-sufficient by drawing its energy from nature, while also preserving it’.

Solar energy plays a massive part in powering the yacht's lithium-ion batteries by day, and any additional power is then stored as hydrogen in a fuel cell - this shows that harmful fossil fuels are not the only option in ensuring the function of a boat.

To demonstrate how effective the use of sustainable power is for this yacht, ‘The Energy Observer’ produces enough energy to power nine homes! It includes a central energy management system that coordinates energy production and transmission from its 200 square metres of solar panels on the roof of the yacht, wind turbines, and the hydrogen power cell. Their aim is to be able to power these systems autonomously at different times to ensure that the yacht works at its full potential.

The Manta Sea Cleaner

Since the invention of plastic, mankind has relied heavily on this destructive material. Every minute though, 17 tonnes of plastic waste is dumped into the world's oceans, but imagine if this plastic waste could be collected and used to rather fuel efforts that prevent environmental pollution.

For four years, France’s The SeaCleaners worked to develop The Manta, an unusual, first of its kind waste processing ship that works to collect, sort, treat and even repurpose or recycle up to three tonnes of waste per hour!

The Manta cleverly resembles the manta ray, which survives in the wild by filtering seawater. Surprisingly, ‘The Manta’ also carries smaller vessels known as ‘Cold Modulus’, that work by navigating through the smaller and trickier areas of the most polluted rivers that would otherwise be missed by just using The Manta alone.

The Manta is powered by transforming plastic waste into energy, achieved by collection carousels that collect the surface waste and transport it to a waste management plant onboard. The waste is then manually sorted by operators who distribute the materials into different categories, ensuring that plastic, glass, metal, and other ocean waste is stored separately to be brought back to land for proper recycling. Organic materials like seaweed that accidentally get picked up are returned to the water.

Next, before the plastic is sent to the energy-to-waste conversion unit, it is shredded to prepare for it to be melted. After melting, it is converted into synthetic gas to produce electricity. Additional solar panels, wind turbines, and hydro generators work alongside the synthetic gas to power the advanced equipment on the vessel.

The Manta plans on travelling to numerous countries around the world to reduce the ocean’s plastic, but its first stop will be Southeast Asia, where they will not only work to reduce the ocean’s plastic waste, but to also provide education and awareness training, and scientific research for the public. In providing these services, they are hoping to reduce and prevent further plastic waste from entering the sea.

Maersk: Carbon Neutral Shipping

Did you know that 80% of world trade is fulfilled overseas? So if you’ve ordered something from the other side of the world, it’s likely that your package would have been transported by ship. Due to their sheer size, weight, and frequency out on the water, most freight ships can have a devastating impact on marine ecosystems and life. So how can shipping companies work towards incorporating more sustainable practices?

a giant container ship sailing through sea
Image Credit: Pixabay

Maersk, the world’s largest shipping company based in Copenhagen, Denmark, recently decided to make sustainability a vital factor in their business. In 2018, they made it their mission to accelerate the transition to carbon-neutral shipping, with their main target being launching the company’s first carbon-neutral vessel by 2023.

Further goals include reducing its emissions by 60% by

2030, and ensuring that its entire collection of over 700

ships are carbon neutral by 2050.

Solar-Powered Yacht

Luxury yachts have always been the go-to for holidays by the rich and famous. Despite the aesthetically pleasing appearance and seeming glamour of the experience, these yachts are costly to run, and have a negative impact on the environment, our oceans, and marine life.

With this in mind, is it ever possible for these luxury vessels to be eco-friendly? In Mallorca, one company is doing just that. Silent Yachts, in partnership with yachting design firm 2 Design have spent the last 14 years developing the Silent 80 Solar Electric Catamaran - a yacht entirely powered by solar energy, available in a range of models and sizes.

This luxury vessel even includes electric motors that are small enough to fit under floorboards and create minimal noise. The Silent 80 Solar Electric Catamaran is also more spacious than your typical yacht, and uses only eco-friendly textiles and furnishings inside. This could see the rise of eco-friendly yachts in the future!

We actually got in contact with the company, and managed to go check them out for ourselves. Watch that video here.

We really hope more sustainable boating is the future, whether for cleaning up our oceans, for luxury getaways, or shipping. Technologies including renewable energy, rechargeable battery-powered engines, hybrid propulsions, and hydrogen fuel cells are the future–and we can’t wait to see what someone comes up with next!



We're Ben & Ciara

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