Delivering the first AMELS hybrid power yacht and world’s first Tier III superyacht

This week at AMELS we’ve successfully delivered VOLPINI 2 to her owner, right on time at the AMELS yard in the Netherlands, VOLPINI 2 is the world’s first Tier III compliant new build yacht and the first AMELS hybrid power yacht. We’re really proud of this milestone, the culmination of our AMELS 188 Research and Development programme, which we started in 2014.

So what was the reason to make the first AMELS 188 a hybrid power yacht and Tier III compliant?

With our AMELS Limited Editions approach to yacht building, we need to look further ahead and anticipate the demands of our future clients. Just like the automobile industry, the long-term direction is clear: higher efficiency, lower operating costs and reducing harmful emissions.

We also had to consider the International Maritime Organization’s Tier III emissions regulations – requiring new motor yachts over 500 Gross Tonnage with a global cruising area and a keel laid after 1 January 2016 to reduce the harmful NOx emissions in their engine exhaust gases by around 70 percent.

At the time, there was still uncertainty about the Tier III implementation timetable and no clear technology solution available.

In fact, we ended up laying the keel for VOLPINI 2 before the end of 2015, so we were not obliged by regulation to comply, but we knew we had to tackle the engineering challenges for the long-term success of the AMELS 188 design.

The Tier III solution requires equipment from several independent OEMs to work together seamlessly, while conforming to our design requirements in terms of engine room space and the low noise and vibrations that AMELS is renowned for. So it made sense for us as the yacht builder to take the engineering lead in collaboration with our sub-contractors MTU, Veth and HUG.

We’re convinced that hybrid power is the future of yachting technology.

For the hybrid power yacht system, we started by analysing all the fleet data from the Limited Editions yachts we had already delivered. It was clear that there was enormous potential to improve efficiency with a hybrid solution. We took a holistic approach, finding smart ways to reuse energy already on board (like engine heat), combined with a battery bank to vastly improve the efficiency of power systems. Our solution includes a waste heat recovery system, two generators with a father-son configuration for optimal engine output, plus a compact battery bank for peak shaving and managed load shedding.

We developed smart power management together with Alewijnse Marine that automatically adjusts the balance of engines and battery power for the optimal efficiency and lowest fuel consumption. It offers lower Total Cost of Ownership and less maintenance, as well as reducing the impact on the environment. As a result, we have a solid analytical basis for potential operating cost savings of €100,000 or more a year.

The next AMELS 188 will also be a hybrid power yacht and we hope to roll it out to more yachts in the Limited Editions range soon.

Factory testing of the Tier III generator and main engine systems under Lloyds Register supervision took place in December 2015 and January 2016.

Two years later, not just AMELS, but also subcontractors and OEMs have developed a high degree of Tier III know-how and experience. There are more Tier III compliant yachts under construction. What began as an challenge for our industry just a few years ago is now becoming standard practice – to the benefit of our environment.

Currently North American and Caribbean waters are covered by Tier III regulations, but more zones are expected to follow – perhaps even the Mediterranean. Anyway, global ocean-going capability is a key attribute of an AMELS yacht, so for us there was no choice. We also see it as our responsibility to be a positive force in reducing the environmental impact of yachting.