The yacht industry needs to become greener

Posted on May 19, 2021 by Kerstin Hansmann, Images by Heesen

What role does sustainability play in the large motor yacht scene? What does the yacht of the future look like?
Friedrichshafen, Germany
What role does sustainability play in the large motor yacht scene? What does the yacht of the future look like? In the global climate debate, the sector may seem relatively small and insignificant next to the larger players in the industry. But a panel of experts, invited by Diesel International and among them Tobias Kohl, Director Application Engineering Marine at Rolls-Royce, agreed: the time to act is now.

Especially in yachting, they said, an awareness of sustainability and a rethinking were necessary - after all, the world's oceans are not used here as transport routes, but as a valuable place for recreation in a natural maritime environment. And these cannot be taken for granted: "We need to protect the oceans and strike a balance between human activity and the needs of nature," stressed Robert Van Tol, Executive Director of the non-profit organization Water Revolution Foundation.

Reducing CO2 in small steps now

"It is important to consider how we can reduce carbon dioxide emissions today," said Tobias Kohl. "On propulsion systems that are already installed, we can install exhaust after-treatment systems or reduce fuel consumption by using smart, digital solutions - without compromising on performance or reliability."

The big goals

And in the long term? "In the long run, the use of new technologies is needed - for example, electrification or even the fuel cell," Kohl explains. Here, Rolls-Royce Power Systems is investing in the research and development of various technologies to be able to offer as diverse a portfolio as possible of more environmentally friendly drive and energy solutions.

Diesel engines in combination with alternative fuels will also play a significant role in the future.

"We are preparing our mtu diesel engines to use synthetic fuels produced from renewable energy sources. In this way, mobile drives and stationary power generation can be made increasingly CO2-neutral."

Tobias Kohl - Director Application Engineering Marine at Power Systems

Encouraging even small shipyards to adopt new technologies

But how can awareness of sustainability be increased in the industry? The tenor of the expert panel was clear: shipyards and suppliers must become active and look for more sustainable solutions - and go beyond compliance with emission standards. The possibility of creating monetary incentives for hybridization or electrification of yachts was discussed in the expert panel. The more that could be done support smaller shipyards in using new technologies, the better.


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