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With greater awareness about pollution, sustainable and emission reduction practices have become increasingly salient in the maritime industry. The International Maritime Organization envisions a reduction in CO2 emissions by 40 percent by 2030 across international shipping to combat climate change.

The nautical sector has found a promising solution with the invention of electric catamarans. These vessels are powered by electrical energy, offering a more ecological, energy efficient, and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional cruising.

Making The Switch to Electric Catamarans

Electric catamarans are propelled by electric motors that draw power stored in lithium-ion batteries. These massive batteries are replenished by solar panels, wind turbines, hydrogenators, or a combination of all, allowing electric catamarans to ply oceans with an extended range.

Sunreef Yachts Eco remains at the forefront of eco-friendly responsible yachting with their electric sailing and power catamarans. The shipyard has made impressive strides in pursuing green energy generation for sailing the blue waters, including the installation of battery banks of the future and utilization of renewable energies.

What Makes Electric Catamarans Convenient?

1.  Questing for Unpolluted Waters

Did you know that one litre of oil is capable of polluting one million litres of water? What is more is that catastrophic oil spills only account for five percent of the total water pollution, the rest of the major chunk is avowed against engine emissions, oil leaks, and refueling from waterborne vessels. This oil contains hydrocarbons and heavy metals that damage the aquatic environment and adversely affects human health.

To avoid contamination, eco-conscious yacht builders and manufacturers, like Sunreef Yachts Eco, have launched electric catamarans that are less likely to harm wildlife or water users. With electric catamarans, there are no risks associated with spilling fuel as they need not make their way to an oil pump for replenishing.

Apart from rising concerns of water pollution, the traditional marine outboard engines are also known to have detrimental effects on marine wildlife due to the noises generated. This noise impacts breeding cycles, hinders navigation of partially sighted animals, and prevents fishes from hearing their predators. As counterparts, electric engines boast quieter operations, thus minimizing adverse effects on wildlife and making the voyages more pleasurable for yachting enthusiasts.

2.  Greater Environmental Sustainability

An electric catamaran’s engine contributes significantly to a reduced carbon footprint that combats climate change effectively without releasing exorbitant levels of toxic pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides, which deteriorate air quality.

3.  Energy Efficiency

Electric propulsion systems tend to be more energy efficient than the traditional internal combustion engines. This is because the extraction of fossil fuels from deep within the Earth, refinement, transportation via great distances, and distribution to oil pumps, accounts for a staggeringly high consumption of energy.

Additionally, the overall energy efficiency of a diesel engine is often capped at 40 percent; the rest of the 60 percent is lost in the name of heat and friction. On the other hand, electric catamarans can be charged directly from the grid, providing renewable electricity, to be more environmentally friendly. This accounts for lower operating costs overall.

Sunreef Yachts Eco employs the latest in yacht building technology to ensure efficient power distribution and hull form. The lightweight hull of our electric catamarans guarantees instant power with little to no drag, resulting in least possible wasted energy.

4.  Lower Maintenance Cost

Electric catamarans require relatively lesser maintenance as they boast fewer moving parts that use low friction magnetic field for operations and experience close to zero vibrations compared to internal combustion engines. They eliminate the need for winterization maintenance, oil changes, and filter, gaskets, or impeller replacements.

Alongside this, replacing greenhouse gas emitters, such as petrol and diesel, is certainly more economical. This also accounts for electric catamarans having a greater resale value on the market.

A diagram illustrating the advantages of electric catamarans in terms of reduced fuel consumption and extended lifespan.

Understanding The Role of Marine Batteries 

The primary reason why consumers avoided plowing waters with electric catamarans back in the day was the limited range that made variable sea states hazardous. What made the situation worse was their slow charging abilities at limited marinas around the world.

However, the electric catamarans of today offer smooth and silent operations, excellent maneuverability, and emission-free functioning. Additionally, they have torque from the second their shaft is engaged, enabling them to accelerate faster than conventional internal combustion engines.

Sunreef Yachts Eco envisions a more carbon neutral future for its catamarans. But apart from reducing emissions, the shipyard is also determined to find ways to significantly improve performance, range, and comfort onboard.

The Batteries on Sunreef’s Electric Catamarans

Sunreef Yachts Eco fully electric catamarans are equipped with custom engineered marine battery banks that offer prolonged battery life and more power despite compact size and optimized weight. With a density below 5.2kgs per kWh, these lithium-ion battery packs are recognized as 30 percent lighter than standard battery systems used worldwide. The reduced weight of the battery accounts for lesser drag, which translates to reduced energy being consumed by propulsion.

Additionally, the battery size is also smaller, leaving more room in the hulls to expand on living space. The ability to charge the batteries of this electric catamaran in harbors across the world, regardless of the voltage, adds a unique level of versatility and convenience for cruising.

It is important to note that Sunreef Yachts Eco equips each model within its range with custom marine lithium battery banks, scaling between 400 to 700V with pack sizes extending up to 1MW. Their capacity allows for nearly two days of air conditioning and house appliances use. These are fast charging, long-lasting batteries with a lifespan of up to 10 years; but even after years of service, 80 percent of the original capacity is maintained.

The Utilization of Renewable Energy on Yachts

Using renewable energy to power different regions of the electric catamaran

Energy regeneration onboard an electric catamaran allows them to have an unlimited range without relying on external fuel sources, making them fully self-sustaining. Installing a clean green energy production to the catamaran’s existing battery pack makes it far easier to run the essential electric components onboard.

Renewable energy produces no GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions despite powering the world’s growing fleet of electric catamarans. To protect the oceans, here are the three major renewable energy types that can be harnessed onboard an electric catamaran:

1.  Solar Power 

The utilization of solar energy on electric catamarans has proven to be a significant step in decreasing the consumption of environmentally damaging fossil fuels such as gasoline. Sunreef Yachts Eco has successfully produced its in-house engineered, patent pending technology, solar panels that can be fully integrated into the composite bodywork of the electric catamaran. The energy produced is stored in lithium-ion batteries.

These are the industry’s lightest solar panels, that can be mounted on the superstructure, hull, or mast, for maximum power generation. In general, multihulls offer a more stable platform for accommodating a large solar array in comparison to monohulls.

2.  Marine Wind Turbines

Marine wind turbines (also known as wind generators or wind chargers) are mounted atop catamarans to maximize the conversion of kinetic energy of air in motion to electricity. This in turn keeps the battery banks charged in the absence of solar power; hence playing a vital role in the energy mix of electric catamarans.

It is generally a stable source of power throughout the day, regardless of whether the vessel is docked or under navigation. That being the case, the more wind pressure the catamaran encounters, the more power the turbines produce. Overall, wind turbines significantly reduce operational costs by minimizing fuel consumption.

Роскошный катамаран Sunreef Yachts, плавающий возле гористого побережья на закате.

3.  Hydro Generation 

Hydro generation allows you to create power whilst sailing in an electric catamaran. Simply put, harvesting the momentum of waves converts kinetic energy into electrical energy, which can later be fed into batteries to supply electricity to the ship.

Sunreef Yachts Eco redesigned their sailing catamarans to draw power from the energy of waves rather than fossil fuels. Because regeneration can even come from the free spinning of propellers when the boat is under sail, it proves to be a viable method for procuring clean, green energy. Additionally, it has proven to be highly efficient on electric catamarans produced by the shipyard as the electric power can be recovered from two engines.

How Innovative is Sunreef Yachts Eco?

During recent years, the Polish shipyard, Sunreef Yachts Eco has grown increasingly aware of the urgency of protecting the environment. Our research and development team has launched ground-breaking inventions in the yachting industry with greener tech, efficient design, and cleaner manufacturing processes.

Air Conditioning

For starters, electric catamarans from Sunreef Yachts Eco are the only ones to boast an energy-saving, gas-based air conditioning system, providing notable energy efficiency for a sustainable yachting experience.

This system consumes 70 percent less energy than the standard air conditioning system. Not only is it capable of running on batteries throughout the night to guarantee a peaceful sleep onboard, but also provides top-notch humidity control in tropical regions.

Smart Water Management

Because freshwater generation is crucial for sustainable cruising, Sunreef Yachts Eco installs advanced water purification systems and highly efficient watermakers onboard electric catamarans. This guarantees unlimited access to clean water which reduces the need for plastic bottles onboard.

Hydrogen

Another ongoing project by the research and development team at Sunreef Yachts Eco is the Zero Cat, a 90 feet catamaran with unique clean, green power generation capabilities.  This superyacht’s fuel cell system will convert methanol to hydrogen onboard for zero-emissions cruising.

Изображение роскошного катамарана Sunreef Yachts на темном фоне, подчеркивающее его элегантный дизайн и двойные корпуса.

Sunreef Yachts Eco also aims to be the first shipyard to incorporate hydrogen on its electric catamarans as a substitute to conventional energy. Combining hydrogen power with electric propulsion would enable the 80 feet sailing catamaran to achieve unrivalled autonomy for eco-conscious cruising as it powers both onboard appliances and engines.

Future Plans

The idea encapsulated here is to continue making sailing more accessible for people around the world, but with minimal impact on seas and oceans. Sunreef Yachts Eco aims to commission 40 electric catamarans in 2024 that embrace latest propulsion technologies such as electric motors, advanced lithium-ion battery chemistries, and regeneration capabilities that rely heavily on renewable sources of energy to help protect the planet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who makes electric catamarans?

Sunreef Yachts Eco is the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of electric catamarans, including both sailing and power multihulls. The shipyard is largely known for its production of bespoke luxury catamarans, stretching between 30 to 164 feet.

What is the range of the electric catamaran?

Sunreef Yachts Eco electric catamarans boast an unlimited range under favorable and sunny weather conditions. They are easily maneuvered, seaworthy vessels, with impeccable buoyancy even in rough seas. Featuring a mix of eco-energies, our electric catamarans also prove to be self-sustaining for extended periods of time.

Are there any electric powered catamarans?

In recent years, Sunreef Yachts Eco has launched several electric catamarans, powered by renewable energies for minimum ecological footprint. Furthermore, the shipyard has committed to 40 additional electric catamarans which will be launched in 2024, which includes multihulls from the newest range, the Sunreef ULTIMA.

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Sunreef Venture S.A.

Sunreef Yachts Shipyard

ul. Tarcice 6

80-718 Gdańsk, Poland

+48 58 769 77 77