After five years of research by the Swiss company SolarImpact Yacht AG, the vision of a seaworthy solar yacht with futuristic modern aesthetics has now been realised. This innovative high-tech design concept was developed to combine luxurious convenience, modern design and sustainability, and make it capable of sailing the high seas. This revolutionary ship technology has first been unveiled at the Cannes Yachting Festival 2018, where visitors could explore a virtual 3D model of the solar yacht.
With the development of its yacht, the company is fully in line with the trend of the current energy transition, and thus creates an almost unlimited range for a whole new maritime experience.
Sustainability of a luxury yacht
This new yacht is a game-changer, not just in terms of its solar propulsion and design. Two aspects that have prevented a pleasant stay on board in the past have also been addressed: rough seas and high noise levels. The innovative solar yacht glides almost silently and without swaying – even over waves several metres high. The hull technology is based on the SWATH (Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull) construction principle, which has been known since 1938 but was previously reserved forspecial ships only: two torpedo-shaped buoyancy hulls under the water surface support the ship. This achieves a physical shaft decoupling that reduces the rolling and heeling of the yacht by up to 90 percent. It lies calmly in the water even in strong swells, putting an end to the annoying swaying motion of the boat.
But SolarImpact has recognised that the principle offers yet another invaluable advantage: it significantly reduces energy consumption. All systems on board can use the sun as their primary energy source. The yacht‘s solar drive is not only environmentally friendly, but also extremely quiet.
Not only is the solar yacht almost self-sufficient in terms of energy, but with a top speed of over 20 knots it is also exceptionally fast. This is due to the technical components used, which collectively ensure the yacht‘s high overall efficiency and are optimally controlled using artificial intelligence (AI). All key systems are highly automated, so that a single person can even manoeuvre the yacht. „SolarImpact is synonymous with state-of-the-art in shipbuilding when it comes to fluid mechanics, highly efficient energy technologies, and sustainability“, comments Werner Vögeli, CEO of SolarImpact Yacht AG. „Our yacht concept avoids noise and CO2 emissions and is therefore an important step towards electric mobility in the maritime sector.“ „Our yacht sets new standards when it comes to user-friendliness, convenience and individual freedom. At the same time it caters to a growing desire to trend towards moving one‘s centre of life permanently onto the water,“ explains Werner Vögeli, CEO of SolarImpact Yacht AG.
The new solar luxury yacht by SolarImpact sets new standards in many ways
The 78-foot yacht offers 340 square metres (3,660 square feet) of luxuriously and functionally designed living space on three levels, and a wide range of options regarding interior furnishings, design, and modern lighting, air-conditioning and sound solutions. The primary energy required for this, too, is supplied by a total of 300 m2 of solar surface; all important components have a redundant set-up. A diesel aggregate additionally ensures the yacht‘s comprehensive operating reliability, even in unfavourable weather conditions such as longer periods of cloud cover.
SolarImpact relies on cooperation with well-known European technology partners. For instance, the drive technology and energy supply were developed in close cooperation with Austria‘s Kreisel Electric GmbH & Co.KG, a company known for developing highly efficient rechargeable battery packs that are among the lightest and most efficient high-performance batteries in the world. In energy generation, SolarImpact cooperates with the American supplier SunPower, whose solar cells currently have the highest possible efficiency. Solbian, a specialist supplier of flexible solar modules, uses these cells to produce the flexible panels that are ultimately installed on the yacht.