5 reasons to turn off the alarm bells and embrace superyacht hybrid power

As Design Manager at one of the world’s most prestigious luxury yacht builders, I speak to owner representatives, crews and designers all over the world. Any mention of hybrid power is often when people’s alarm bells start ringing. Experienced yacht owners are wary of expensive, rarely used gimmicks that occupy valuable luxury space on board. Chief engineers and captains are concerned about operating and maintaining a whole raft of complex equipment. Plus, the environmental benefits are often questionable at best.

But here at AMELS, we’ve just successfully factory tested our new holistic approach to hybrid power. It will not only stop the alarm bells ringing, but also deliver tangible, high value benefits that you won’t find anywhere else.

1. Hybrid power is not just for occasional propulsion – it can also be an integral part of the yacht system

‘Silent running’ on hybrid power out of the marina is pretty cool. If cost is no object and you don’t mind sacrificing luxury space for an immense battery bank, then we can build you hybrid propulsion. In fact, we share in-depth experience with our colleagues at DAMEN Shipyards, who have built battery-powered propulsion for a range of commercial vessels.

But when we started looking at the power systems on board the 57.70 metre AMELS 188, we realized that we could deliver far greater benefits by using hybrid power for the yacht’s hotel loads (i.e. the electricity used for everything else on board: from the Jacuzzi to the air conditioning). We took a holistic approach that seamlessly improves every moment of the daily yachting experience for the Owner and guests. AMELS hybrid power works invisibly in the background – combining 3 energy sources: mechanical (generators), electrical (battery bank) and heat (residual energy).

We’re so convinced that this is the future of yachting technology, we’ve taken the unprecedented step of designing the AMELS 188 with hybrid power already built in. It’s not an optional added extra. It’s the core of this futuristic new yacht.

2. Hybrid power saves you money by reducing your operating expenses

How much energy already on board your yacht is wasted, just going up in smoke? AMELS hybrid power takes a holistic approach, finding smart ways to reuse energy already on board (like engine heat) and vastly improve the efficiency of power systems.

So how much can you save? During our 18-month research programme we analysed how Owners all over the world use their yachts. We catalogued main engine hours and the wide-ranging hotel demands on auxiliary generators. We investigated how energy is created and consumed.

As a result, we have a solid analytical basis for potential operating cost savings of €100,000 or more a year. It’s faster Return on Investment and lower Total Cost of Ownership. The numbers stack up and that’s what our clients want to hear.

3. Hybrid power is smart, proven technology for the lifetime of your yacht

Nobody wants to be a guinea pig for technology that is rapidly outdated. We are committed to delivering reliable, trusted technology that is easy to maintain and service. Our solution includes the AMELS waste heat recovery system, plus two generators with a father-son configuration for optimal engine output, plus a compact battery bank for peak shaving and managed load shedding.

Hybrid technology is nothing new. We are building the AMELS 188 with tried-and-tested solutions from advances made in commercial shipbuilding and the automotive industry, which are often far ahead of the maritime industry in Research and Innovation. Here in the Netherlands, we are lucky to have experienced hybrid system providers and deep pool of highly qualified electrical engineers on our doorstep. After all, this is also where Tesla Motors decided to build its European base.

4. Hybrid power is more sustainable

Large motor yachts may have a limited overall impact on the environment, but using green technology is nevertheless responsible as well as smart. By burning significantly less fuel, the AMELS 188 produces significantly less harmful emissions. Of course, energy efficiency also means consuming less energy, for example using LED lighting or increasing HVAC efficiency – both of which the AMELS 188 does.

We also consider the ecological footprint of our construction materials over the whole lifecycle. With current battery technology, for example, you have to consider everything from large-scale mining of Lithium Carbonate, to the potential eco-toxicity in producing batteries and problematic recycling.

5. Hybrid power makes your Chief Engineer smile.

For the AMELS 188, we have developed smart power management that automatically adjusts the balance of engines and battery power for the optimal efficiency and lowest fuel consumption.

The graphic above shows how the small and big generators, combined with battery power, deliver smooth, uninterrupted power when you need it. No unnecessary start-ups or risk of black-outs. So your Chief Engineer doesn’t need to worry about power management system alarms going off when the stewardess switches on the clothes dryers.

Your crew has more time to focus on what really counts – the best luxury yachting experience for you. Isn’t that a great reason to turn off the alarm bells?

The AMELS 188 with AMELS Hybrid Electrical Power System

The new 57.70-metre AMELS 188 superyacht is now under construction and is scheduled for delivery in Spring 2018. She is the first AMELS 188 in our highly successful AMELS Limited Editions range. AMELS is now handling serious enquiries for this yacht.

Design Manager Hans Konings heads the team of naval architects and experts in large yacht construction at Dutch luxury yacht builder AMELS. He joined AMELS in 2003 after more than a decade of seagoing experience. The AMELS Design team is behind the six yachts in the 55 to 83-metre AMELS Limited Editions range as well as the AMELS Full Custom offer in the 80 to 110-metre segment.