Sustainable propulsion systems: Building the yachting industry of the future


The steady rise of eco-friendly superyachts anywhere in the world points to how sustainability has found its way in the global yachting community. Given the mounting sustainability movement, the future of the industry now lies in its ability to reduce its environmental impact. Overall, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) targets to decrease the carbon footprint of international shipping by at least 40 per cent by 2030 compared to 2008 levels, and by 70 per cent by 2050. The yachting sector has a role to play in meeting and complying with the IMO targets put in place to protect our oceans and marine life.

Fortunately, more sustainable solutions have been developed over the years to both meet and go beyond the carbon emission standards. In the superyacht propulsion engine market, solar panels and hybrid systems are gaining traction in light of an increasing need for faster, more fuel-efficient engines.

Digital solutions for increased efficiency 

On propulsion systems that are already installed — whether they are wind propulsion, steam turbine propulsion, gas turbine propulsion, diesel propulsion and nuclear propulsion — using smart, digital solutions can go a long way to attain sustainability and efficiency. Hybrid propulsion systems are particularly gaining attention because of their capability to deliver significant cost and efficiency savings while reducing noise and vibration. Hybrid basically refers to the combination of two or more propulsion systems of various energy sources. Often, hybrid yachts run on diesel and electric propulsion systems.

Many industry players are offering efficient marine propulsion in recent years to help their clients realise their sustainability objectives. Some of these industry giants are partners of Al Masaood Power Division, in line with its mission to advance sustainable solutions in the regional marine propulsion market.

Valuable collaborations

Volvo Penta is one such strategic partner, which recently announced its acquisition of Norwegian marine battery and electric driveline solutions supplier ZEM AS. The move is seen as vital to Volvo Penta’s efforts to fasttrack its marine electromobility journey.

Another is multinational company Nidec ASI, which is part of Nidec Group and a leader in the field of solutions for energy management in the nautical sector. It is a renowned supplier of a complete power management system for the mega yacht Wider 165. It is also popular for pushing electrical navigation as the future of the shipping industry.

To promote sustainable navigation, Nidec ASI recently developed and installed the innovative Power Management System on the mega yacht Wider 165 to achieve optimised power management.

Moreover, at Al Masaood Power, we are shifting to synthetic fuels produced from renewable energy sources to power our diesel engines. For this endeavour, we have partnered with MTU. Together, we are helping make sure that mobile drives and stationary power generation can be made increasingly carbon-neutral.

To complement all these developments in the superyacht propulsion engine market, there is a need for strong government support, policy changes and infrastructural transformation. This will make sustainability deeply ingrained in an industry striving to be a major contributor to advancing sustainable development.