Riding The Green Wave: The Pioneers of Eco-Friendly Catamarans

As the world continues to struggle with climate change, the demand for sustainable solutions continues to grow across industries. Within the maritime world, eco-friendly yachts are at the top of the list. Catamarans combine luxury and sustainability in a unique way. Electric and hybrid engines power eco-friendly boats that not only reduce GHG emissions but also offer a quieter and more comfortable sailing experience. As we recently visited Monaco’s yacht show, we also decided to re-evaluate our plans and start looking for eco-friendliness in our blue water cruising. 



When it comes to size, eco-friendly boats don’t come at a huge price tag (about 800k approx), but they come with fewer maintenance costs, lower fuel consumption and greater independence. Let’s explore some of the manufacturers that are leading the way with eco-friendly yacht design. We took a more in-depth look at the existing models and requested the shipyards to provide their technical specs, price and any additional information they could provide.


Silent Yachts

Silent Yachts' Silent 55 is a solar electric catamaran designed for long-range cruising. This model embodies a blend of sustainable yachting and luxury, offering a peaceful and self-sufficient cruising experience. The Silent 55 is notable for its solar-powered feature, marking a significant stride towards solar energy utilization in the yachting world​.

Technical Specifications

Principal Dimensions:
  • Length Overall (LOA): 54'10"
  • Beam: 27'8"
  • Draft: 3'11"
  • Displacement: 38,000 lbs or 34,400 lbs​
Engine and Propulsion:
  • Electric Motors: 2x 250-kW Dana TM4 E-motors
  • Solar Generator: 1x 10,000 kWp
  • Generator: 1x 100-kW Volvo Penta​
Tanks and Capacity:
  • Fuel Capacity: 132 gal or 422 gal
  • Water Capacity: 160 gal or 264 gal

Design and Usability

The Silent 55 catamaran's design emphasizes silent and self-sufficient cruising. The onboard solar panels power the electric motors and recharge the batteries, allowing for silent cruising at a moderate speed for an unlimited range during sunny weather. The layout includes four guest cabins, providing ample space for passengers to enjoy a comfortable voyage.

Environmental Impact

Silent Yachts prides itself on creating the first ocean-going production yachts in the world powered by solar energy, emphasizing the reduction of noise and air pollution. The Silent 55 is a testament to this vision, paving the way for sustainable and eco-friendly yachting adventures. For more visual insight, a virtual tour of the Silent 55 is available, offering a closer look at the design, space, and features of this innovative catamaran​​. Silent Yachts' Silent 55 is a step towards sustainable yachting, offering a unique blend of luxury, innovation, and eco-friendliness, making it a notable choice for modern-day sailors and marine enthusiasts.

Shipyard: Italy  
Vessel Highlights: Silent 55, Silent 60, Silent 80
Overview: Silent 55 Solar-Electric Power Catamaran (Power and Motoryacht)
Performance Reports: Reviewed for self-sufficiency in solar power utilization (Silent 55), Review by Robb Report, Honest Review (YouTube)
Starting Price: $1.55 million

Alva Yachts

The Ocean Eco 60 is a solar-assisted electric long-range cruiser from Alva Yachts that encapsulates innovation, luxury, safety, and cruising comfort. This model is designed for those who cherish exploration and cruising while yachting. The Ocean Eco 60 stands as an emblem of the latest technological strides in the domain of self-sufficient yachts, setting a high bar in the competition.

Technical Specifications

Principal Dimensions:
  • Length Overall (LOA): 18.40 m (60 ft)
  • Length of Waterline: 17.80 m
  • Beam: 10.20 m
  • Draft: 1.2 m
  • Displacement: 35,000 kg (35t)​
Engine and Propulsion:
  • Propulsion: 
    • Electric Engines, 2 x 100 KW up to 2x350 KW
  • Generator: 25 KVA up to 100 KVA - frequency driven DC​
Battery and Energy System:
  • Battery Capacity: 150 - 280 kWh
  • Solar Power: 20 KW Peak
Tanks and Capacity:
  • Fuel: 500 - 1000 L
  • Fresh Water: 500 - 1000 L
  • Hot Water: 200 L
  • Greywater Tank: 400 L
  • Blackwater Tank: 400 L​

Design and Usability

The Ocean Eco 60 is designed with a modern, futuristic aesthetic that mirrors its innovative concept. The integration of solar panels within its structure showcases Alva Yachts' commitment to sustainable yachting. The interior of the Ocean Eco 60 is designed with a minimalist approach, focusing on natural materials and lighting to create a versatile open living space. Different layout options are available to cater to the preferences of the owner, whether it's the Charter Version or the Owner Version, each layout is crafted to offer a unique yachting experience​​.

Environmental Impact

The Ocean Eco 60 is a testament to Alva Yachts' commitment to environmental sustainability. Its electric propulsion system, supplemented by solar power, aims to reduce emissions and promote clean, green yachting. This model from Alva Yachts is a blend of modern design, innovative technology, and a step towards eco-friendly yachting, offering a unique and luxurious yachting experience while being kind to the environment.

Shipyard: Germany  
Vessel Highlights: Ocean Eco 60, Ocean Eco 90  
Overview: All available models via itboot.com
Performance Reports: Reviewed for the blend of luxury and sustainability (boats.com), Next level electric in the Alva Eco 60 (Sails Magazine), ALVA ECO 60 Solar Powered Yacht (YouTube)
Starting Price: €3.9 million

Nova Luxe Yachts

The Elight 44 by Nova Luxe Yachts is a hybrid electric catamaran that comes in two distinct models: Serial Hybrid and Parallel Hybrid. This vessel is a representation of luxury intertwined with sustainability, designed to offer a serene yet powerful cruising experience. The Solar Array on the Elight 44 is crafted to generate more power than a small hotel uses in a 24-hour cycle, which is a testimony to its energy efficiency. The catamaran promises a blend of autonomous living and blue-water cruising, making it a vessel of choice for modern-day explorers​.

Technical Specifications

Principal Dimensions:
  • Length Overall (LOA): 44'
  • Beam: 21.5'
  • Maximum Draft: 3'5"
  • Bridge Clearance: 18'
  • Dry Weight: 22,000 lbs​

Engine and Propulsion:
  • Serial Hybrid:
    • Standard Motor: Torqeedo Deep Blue 55kW, 80hp
    • Upgraded Motor: Torqeedo Deep Blue 100kW, 160hp
  • Parallel Hybrid:
    • Engine 1: Yanmar 4LV150, Diesel, 150hp + Electric Motor, 20kW
    • Engine 2: Yanmar 4LV150, Diesel, 150hp + Electric Motor, 20kW​
Performance:
  • Maximum Speed: 16+ knots (Serial Hybrid), 18+ knots (Parallel Hybrid)
  • Cruising Speed: Operate all day as electric at 6+ knots for 4+ hours
Battery and Energy System:
  • Solar Array: 7 kW
  • Battery Power: 92/172 kWh of Marinized LFP batteries
  • Genset: 20kW Fischer Panda
  • Electric System: Efficient 24v System with 110v/220v Appliances

Design and Usability

The Elight 44 is specially equipped for exploration with a design that promotes "Electric with Gusto". The vessel's propulsion systems in each hull can function independently, providing a level of redundancy essential for blue-water and autonomous living. The interior and exterior spaces are meticulously crafted to offer a luxurious yet functional environment for cruising and exploration​​.

Environmental Impact

The hybrid electric propulsion system of the Elight 44 catamaran allows for operation with zero emissions, showcasing a significant stride towards environmental sustainability in the maritime sector​. The yacht is a modern-day marvel, encapsulating the essence of eco-friendly yachting without compromising on performance and luxury.

Shipyard: USA (NYC)
Vessel Highlight
: ELight 40 - Elight 70
Overview: ELight 44 (Multihulls World)
Performance Reports: Demonstrated accurate performance projections during sea trials (Great Lakes)
Starting Price: $1.2 million

ZEN Yachts

The Zen 50 is a solar and wingsail electric catamaran designed by the award-winning naval architect Julien Mélot. The Z50 is a game-changer in the eco-friendly yachting sector, claiming to be the world's first series production catamaran equipped with a wingsail. The yacht exemplifies a unique class of eco-friendly leisure yachting, where zero-emission technology meets high comfort and performance. The catamaran is known for its revolutionary design and cutting-edge technology, aimed at creating a luxury yachting experience while adhering to environmental sustainability principles​.

Technical Specifications

Principal Dimensions:

  • Length Overall (LOA): 15.70 meters (51.5 feet)
  • Beam: 8.40 meters (27 feet 7 inches)
  • Draft: 1.30 meters (4 feet 4 inches)
  • Displacement: 16,000 kg (35,280 lb)​

Solar Power and Propulsion:
  • Solar Power: 17,000 W of peak solar power with a remarkable ratio of over 1 kW per displaced tonne of water, which is far beyond any other blue water CE Cat A yacht in this size range.
  • Wingsail: The Zen 50 can be equipped with a fully automated wingsail developed by Ayro, which acts as a range and speed extender.
  • Electric Propulsion: Powered by a high-capacity battery bank, allowing the Zen 50 to achieve speeds of up to 14 knots and maintain high continuous speeds indefinitely​​.
  • Battery and Energy System
    • Battery Bank: 160 kWh capacity designed to function for days in complete safety with minimal solar energy harvest and no wind​
Performance:
  • Maximum Speed: 14 knots
  • Continuous Cruising Speed: Varying between 6 and 10 knots​​.

Design and Usability

The Zen 50 features lightweight racing carbon hulls combined with a massive solar roof to attain a 1:1 solar power versus displacement ratio. The vessel is crafted for ultimate efficiency, with its hull design minimizing drag and energy consumption across a range of speeds from 6 to 10 knots. The design of the hulls is aggressive, sharp, and slender, with a curvature reminiscent of dolphin bodies. The carbon fiber and Corecell™ composite materials contribute to its high strength, low weight, and performance design, allowing the Zen 50 to reach speeds of up to 14 knots​​.

Environmental Impact

Being a solar and wingsail electric catamaran, the Zen 50 operates with zero emissions, making it an eco-friendly choice for the environmentally conscious sailor. The ability to sail continuously at speeds between 6 and 10 knots without using a genset showcases the Zen 50's self-reliant nature, promising a clean and eco-friendly sailing experience​.

Additional Features

The Zen 50 comes in three main different versions: Racer, Cruiser, and Explorer, each tailored for different usage and owner profiles. The interior of the Zen 50 boasts unrivaled space and comfort, offering amenities such as large day beds, multiple dining areas, professional galley, wet kitchens, ensuite cabins, and modern entertainment systems. This vessel is designed for those seeking a luxurious yet eco-conscious sailing experience​​.

The Zen 50 by Zen Yachts embodies a blend of luxury, performance, and eco-friendliness, providing a pioneering example of the potential for green technology in the yachting sector.

Shipyard: Malta
Vessel Highlight: ZEN50 solar electric catamaran  
Performance Reports: Meet the Zen Yachts ZEN50 (Inside EVs)
Starting Price: €2.4 million

Herley Boats

The Herley Boats 3400 Powercat is an electric, aluminum catamaran designed and built in New Zealand, offering a unique blend of performance, luxury, and environmental consciousness. The vessel is capable of running on solar/electric or diesel power, with its top performance achieved when running on both electric and diesel power simultaneously​.

The Herley 3400 Powercat is designed by Roger Hill, in collaboration with Nick Herd. It's built to offer a luxurious, high-performance cruising experience. The vessel's hull form is specifically designed to create minimal underwater drag, contributing to its efficient fuel consumption and extended cruising range, with a projected cruising range of over 1300 nautical miles on a single 630-litre tank​. The vessel's spacious layout and luxurious finishes make it the ultimate choice for various activities like fishing trips, family vacations, or weekend getaways​.

Technical Specifications

Principal Dimensions:
  • Length Overall (LOA): 10.2 m
  • Beam: 4.7 m
  • Draft (including propeller): 0.77 m​​
Engine and Propulsion:
  • Engines: 2 x 100 kW peak electric motors, 60 kW continuous output, brushless, permanent magnet​
  • Diesel Generator: 120 kW​
Fuel and Water Capacity:
  • Fuel Capacity: 640 L
  • Water Capacity: 400 L
Performance:
  • Maximum Speed: 21 knots
  • Cruise Speed: 14 knots
  • Battery Only Max Speed: 12 knots
  • Cruise Range (Hybrid): 1300 NM at 6 knots and 700 NM at 8 knots
  • Battery Only Range: 34 NM at 6 knots and 18.5 NM at 8 knots (Solar input not included in these calculations)​
Battery and Charging:
  • Battery Bank: 60 kWh Lithium-ion
  • On-board Charging: 120 kW Diesel permanent magnet generator
Construction:
  • Material: 5083 Marine Grade Aluminium
  • Fendering: Full length Aluminium Sheer Bump rail Aft Quarter Rail​

Design and Usability

The Herley 3400 Powercat is designed by Roger Hill, in collaboration with Nick Herd. It's built to offer a luxurious, high-performance cruising experience. The vessel's hull form is specifically designed to create minimal underwater drag, contributing to its efficient fuel consumption and extended cruising range, with a projected cruising range of over 1300 nautical miles on a single 630-litre tank​5​. The vessel's spacious layout and luxurious finishes make it the ultimate choice for various activities like fishing trips, family vacations, or weekend getaways​.

Environmental Impact

The electric propulsion system of the Herley 3400 Powercat enables silent running with minimal environmental impact, showcasing an eco-conscious approach to boating​1​.

The Herley Boats 3400 Powercat is an awesome yacht that not only promises an opulent boating experience but also resonates with the modern-day emphasis on environmental sustainability and fuel efficiency.

Shipyard: New Zealand
Vessel Highlight: 3400 Powercat
Performance Report: Reviewed for silent running, high-quality fit-out, and latest electric tech with a range of 2400nm at 8 knots (Boating NZ)
Starting Price: $1.8 million

Soel Yachts

The SoelCat 12 is a solar electric catamaran that embodies sustainability and energy efficiency. This vessel is topped with a solar array of 8.6 kWp and is powered by twin 30 kW electric motors. With a battery capacity of 120 kWh, it can cruise at eight knots for six hours solely on stored power, and in sunshine, the cruising range extends to 7.5 hours at eight knots​. One of the remarkable features of the SoelCat 12 is its ability to deliver energy for up to four households purely on solar power. Each solar electric boat from Soel Yachts, including the SoelCat 12, can save more than 141 tons of CO2 every year, showcasing a significant stride towards environmental sustainability​.

The SoelCat 12 is designed from the ground up as a fully sustainable excursion vessel to enjoy the sea. Its specifications include a length of 11.80 meters, draft of 0.70 meters, beam of 5.80 meters, and displacement of 6 tons. It is designed with a solar energy capacity of 8.6 kWp and a battery capacity of 2x 60 kWh. The cruising speed of the SoelCat 12 is 8 knots, making it a suitable choice for leisurely and eco-friendly sea excursions​. The advanced battery system of the SoelCat 12 allows it to function as a mobile AC power station with 15kVA of AC inverter power. This feature accentuates the versatility and innovative engineering embodied in this solar electric catamaran​.

Technical Specifications

Principal Dimensions:
  • Length Overall (LOA): 11.80 m (39 ft)
  • Beam: 5.80 m (19 ft)
  • Draught: 0.70 m (2.3 ft)
  • Displacement: 6 ton (13,200 lb)​
Solar Power and Propulsion:
  • Solar Power: 8.6 kWp
  • Battery Capacity: 2x 60 kWh
  • Electric Motor: 2x 30 kW
  • Maximum Speed (V_max): 13 knots
  • Service Speed (V_service): 8 knots
  • Break Even Speed (V_break even): 6 knots

Design and Usability

The SoelCat 12 is integrally designed for electric propulsion, with every aspect contributing to its high efficiency for solar electric sailing. The vessel sports a lightweight yet durable fibreglass construction, a large solar roof, and super slender hulls, which are key factors for its high performance in terms of speed and range. The deck space is fully customizable, offering a variety of seating arrangements and layouts to cater to different requirements, whether for luxurious or practical setups. The electric catamaran can also be equipped with a day head in the port side hull, adding to its usability​.

Environmental Impact and Additional Features

The SoelCat 12 stands out for its environmental sustainability with no CO2 or noise emissions. During downtime, it can serve as a mobile power station, utilizing its large solar array to provide energy for land-based electricity grids. Its 120 kWh lithium battery system supplies all the energy required for safe operations during day and night. The SoelCat 12 can also be delivered as a demountable solar electric boat, fitting into two 40ft high cube containers for easy transport to destinations worldwide. This feature allows for quick assembly on location without the need for lamination processes or specialized tools​.

Shipyard: New Zealand 
Vessel Highlight: SoelCat 12
Performance Report: Herley 3400 Electric Power Catamaran (Clean Technica)
Starting Price: $600,000

HH Catamarans

The HH44 is a hybrid catamaran that incorporates innovation and immaculate design, providing a unique and eco-friendly sailing experience. This catamaran is engineered to work seamlessly with a parallel hybrid system, showcasing a blend of solar and diesel power. The HH44 is a testament to the modern-day sailing experience with a hint of luxury, performance, and eco-friendliness, making it a remarkable model in the realm of hybrid catamarans.

Technical Specifications

Principal Dimensions:
  • Length Overall (LOA): 14.23m / 46ft 8in
  • Length of Waterline (LWL): 13.28m / 43ft 7in
  • Beam: 7.15m / 23ft 6in
  • Draft (fixed keels): 1.52m / 5ft 0in
  • Displacement (OC model): 8,750kg / 19,290lb​
Engine and Propulsion:
  • Standard Propulsion: 
    • Electric Propulsion with Diesel Hybrid backup.
  • Solar Capacity: 3,190 watts
  • Hydro Power Generation: Shaft-drive folding propellers
  • EcoDrive System: 
    • Silent fume-free motoring at 7.5 knots, instant torque for maneuvering, hydro-regeneration while sailing with diesel engines as a backup​
Material and Construction:
  • Construction Material: Carbon and Epoxy
  • Features: Pre-preg carbon fiber C-shaped daggerboards​

Design and Usability

The HH44 catamaran is designed with folding transoms, dual swing helm stations, forward-opening salon windows, line tunnels, and non-skid EVA foam decking as standard features. The angular cabin allows two large, forward-facing windows to open fully from inside the generously sized salon (187 sq ft or 17.4m2), enhancing the liveability and comfort onboard. The ceiling height is over 2m (6'6") high throughout, adding to the spacious feel of the catamaran​.

Environmental Impact

The parallel hybrid system on the HH44 is a move towards eco-friendly yachting, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and lowering emissions. The electric propulsion, solar capacity, and hydro-regeneration capabilities while sailing underline the HH44's commitment to environmentally sustainable yachting. The yacht reflects the blend of modern design, innovative technology, and eco-friendliness, marking a noteworthy model for individuals looking to invest in sustainable marine transportation.

Shipyard: China
Vessel HighlightHH44
Performance Report: Nominee Spotlight (Cruising World), Is the HH44 Worth the Hype (YouTube), Review at Yachting World
Starting Price: $1,75 million

Conclusion

As the global community shifts towards a more eco-conscious stance, the maritime sector is not far behind. The emergence of eco-friendly yachts is a testament to the industry’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint. Manufacturers designing and building hybrid and fully electric yachts are at the forefront of this green revolution, offering a range of solar-electric and hybrid-electric yachts designed for sustainable cruising.

These eco-friendly vessels come with state-of-the-art solar panels, electric propulsion systems, and energy-efficient designs ensuring a lower environmental impact. They cater to a growing segment of yachting enthusiasts who not only seek luxury and performance but also value environmental sustainability.

The technical specifications of models like the HH44, Silent 55, Ocean Eco 60, Nova Luxe Yachts Elight 44, SoelCat 12, and Zen 50 showcase a blend of innovative engineering, luxurious amenities, and green technology. They offer the promise of silent, emission-free cruising, and self-sufficiency, which is particularly appealing in a world growing ever more environmentally aware. The design aesthetics of these yachts do not compromise on luxury or usability, offering a high-quality, comfortable cruising experience. The versatile layouts and modern amenities ensure that eco-friendliness does not come at the cost of comfort or style.

The eco-friendly yachts market is poised for growth as advancements in solar technology and electric propulsion continue to evolve. This sector represents a significant step towards sustainable maritime recreation, aligning with the global shift towards eco-friendly transportation solutions. As the demand for eco-friendly yachts continues to surge, the maritime sector is well on its way to a greener, more sustainable future.

Always and handful of water under your yachts, we see you in the marina