23 September 2023
Brodosplit shipyard symbolically marked the beginning of the construction of a zero-emission passenger ship with electric generator propulsion.
“Electric sailing ship” – the so-called three-masted schooner will be 63.50 meters long and 10 meters wide. Floating with a height of 5.35 meters to the main deck. The hull and superstructure will consist of steel and the masts of aluminum alloy. When not under sail, the zero-emission passenger ship will travel using two 150 kW electric motors. Note that, each will feed by a system of batteries, continuously charged from different sources. When reaching a speed of 6 kts, it will require 70 kilowatts of power, fairly unobtrusive for a 500GT boat. The vessel will carry 15 tons of batteries with a maximum capacity of 1800 kWh. But, due to legal requirements, it will also have two diesel generators that will operate only when needed or in emergencies.
The zero-emission passenger ship design and all technical solutions are entirely the work of Marine and Energy Solutions DIV Ltd. project designers. Through this project, they have confirmed their key role in positioning the group high on the list of technical and architectural competitiveness.
Moreover, the vessel’s design has two vertical wind turbines, located at the bow and stern. Note that, they will supply the ship with electricity when it is in port and lower the sails. Additionally, the roof of the superstructure will have a photovoltaic solar system installed. The ship will therefore receive electricity and water supplies from completely renewable sources. Thus, it will obtain all its energy without any CO2 emissions. So not only is the ship 100% “green”, but it also has virtually no costs for fuel and propulsion machinery.
What distinguishes this electric sailboat from similar vessels is the fact that the ship also charges its batteries while sailing, in a very sophisticated way. In addition to the system of wind turbines, water turbines, and solar panels, the vessel will use a system of ship propellers with variable pitch and special blade geometry. Hence, serving as a water turbine when sailing. Therefore, this “reversible propeller” will charge high-power batteries in the lower deck. Furthermore, the bridge will collect and control all information on board.
This includes meteorological data so that the commander knows where the wind is most favorable. Also insight on absolutely all ship and propulsion systems, power supply to the batteries, operation of the engines, solar panels, wind turbines, hot water, and energy consumption. At the same time, all energy “returns” and “expenses” on board are monitored.
The vessel will belong to a class of passenger ships that can sail indefinitely and at all the seas of the world. During the domestic tourist season, it will sail the Adriatic along the coasts of Croatia, Italy, Slovenia, Montenegro, Albania, and Greece, and out of season in the Caribbean and other tourist destinations.
Work on the project started in February 2020 and was co-financed by the EU fund. The project aims to research, develop and build an eco-innovation in the form of a sailing vessel for optimal 24 passengers. In the meantime, develop alternative propulsion technologies and energy sources on an environmentally friendly design. Hence, aiming to achieve sustainable mobility with zero emissions. Therefore, supporting environmental sustainability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air and noise pollution.
The project leader is the DIV Group, and they have established collaboration with scientific institutions. Thus, improving interaction and knowledge and technology transfer between industry and universities and public research institutes, benefiting both companies and public sector researchers.
The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Information Technology Osijek is responsible for the development of kinetic wind energy storage systems through hydrokinetic energy conversion (water turbines and reversible propellers) and battery management systems / integrated marine energy systems (energy storage, monitoring, and control, management, …), while the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture in Split is working on sailing systems, sail automation (robotics), wind turbines and photovoltaic systems.
Full-power wind propulsion will soon be available to existing ships. A bold and surprising statement, perhaps, but one which we believe to be true. SKYTUG, which is being developed by Bluewater Engineering, is a wind propulsion concept with a novel twist. The sails aren’t attached to the ship.