At Boot Düsseldorf Sanlorenzo illustrated its progress to date, starting from the drivers of the ten-year strategic path announced in Cannes last September. In 2023 Sanlorenzo is the Project Partner of the Blue Innovation Dock, the Boot Düsseldorf platform that brings together voices and projects dedicated to sustainability, the priority for the future not only of yachting. The Sanlorenzo Group can be regarded as a pioneer in the path of responsible development and, as a listed company, its strategy is shared with stakeholders, becoming a formal commitment in the Non-Financial Statement, measured and finally publicly reported. This has earned it the ‘Sustainability Excellence Award 2022’. These are projects of absolute technological innovation that will be made possible thanks to exclusive strategic agreements with energy giants such as Siemens Energy.
Despite the fact that yachting accounts for only 0.22% of the total GHG emissions of the entire shipping sector, (International Maritime Organisation, 2020), the introduction of innovations and technologies to reduce the environmental impact of yachts is becoming an increasingly central part of the Sanlorenzo Group’s Research and Development department’s business plan. After the exclusive agreement signed with Siemens Energy for the development and integration of combined reformer/fuel cell modules into the power supply system for hotellerie functions on yachts between 24 and 80 metres in length, and after the decision announced in September 2022 to develop such a system for the specific requirements of the new 50Steel, we can today state that the project’s progress is proceeding right as planned.
The testing phase of the first reformer/fuel cell modules has begun, while the basic design of the methanol/water supply, power management, condensation and ventilation systems has just been completed. At present, the components of the complete system that will be installed on board the first 50Steel unit in the Sanlorenzo shipyard in La Spezia at the beginning of 2024 are under preparation. Concurrently, the project team is engaged in the Risk Assessment of the entire hotel power generation system together with Lloyd’s Register. Once completed, this innovative application will represent the first concrete step in the generation of carbon-neutral power from new-generation fuels (E-methanol and bio-methanol) for the entire yachting industry.
At the same time, Sanlorenzo is already thinking about a second step: the development of a carbon-neutral power generation system, with a substantial increase in the power developed by the reformer/fuel cell modules. This will make low-speed, wide-range navigation possible in carbon neutrality conditions through the hybrid propulsion system, overcoming the current limitations of systems, which in zero emission mode (main engines and generators off) can only rely on the modest energy capacity of the batteries. This second step will also require a technological leap in the yacht’s structure and plant configuration. Sanlorenzo’s R&D and technical department engineers together with Lloyd’s Register will tackle this challenge by focusing on the development of high capacity structural tanks suitable for the new fuel. These will be compatible with the limited space available on board and will take into account the strict regulations currently applied to large methanol transport vessels.
The ultimate goal for Sanlorenzo includes an even more ambitious third step: the design and construction of a superyacht powered solely by green methanol. The generation of the power needed to sail at maximum speed will therefore no longer be tied to diesel engines, but rather will be based on a combination of fuel cells and internal combustion engines powered by green methanol.