World's first hydrogen-powered superyacht — 'commissioned by Bill Gates' — hits the water and goes on sale for €600m


Leigh Collins

A 119-metre superyacht able to run purely on green hydrogen — and allegedly commissioned by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates — was officially launched on Saturday in Amsterdam, and is reportedly on sale with an asking price of €600m ($647m).


“When the drydock doors slid open on 4 May at Feadship’s Amsterdam shipyard, the yachting world was forever changed,” gushes a press release issued by the Dutch shipbuilder.


“Say hello to Project 821, the world’s first hydrogen fuel-cell superyacht.”


The vessel, which was “five years in the making”, has been built to get all its power for thrust and onboard amenities from liquid green hydrogen stored in a 92-square-metre double-walled cryogenic fuel tank.


“It takes eight to ten times more space to store hydrogen that the energy equivalent in diesel fuel,” Feadship points out.


The vessel required the development of new systems, protocols and safety regulations in conjunction with classification society Lloyd’s Register, the company says.


And the two 117-metre hydrogen-powered ferries ordered last month by Norwegian company Torghatten Nord, will make use of the technology developed for Project 821, according to Feadship.


However, the shipbuilder states that “even a yacht the size of Project 821 cannot carry enough liquid hydrogen to power a crossing... [so] for longer travels or when pure hydrogen is not available”, electricity will come from generators burning hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO).


The 16 fuel cells on board can only “provide an entire week’s worth of silent operation at anchor or navigating emission-free at 10 knots [18.5km/h] while leaving harbours or cruising in protected marine zones”.


Project 821 is also able to convert methanol into hydrogen on board via steam reformation, for use in the fuel cells, but doing so would emit CO2.


Feadship director Jan-Bart Verkuyl says that fuel cells will play an important role for yachts in the years to come, “considering their superior efficiency, low particle emissions and low noise radiation”.


“We have shown that cryogenic storage of liquefied hydrogen in the interior of a superyacht is a viable solution,” he says.


The vessel will be sold privately by superyacht broker Edmiston, which currently lists vessels for sale at up to €189m on its website.


“The brief was to build the greenest and most environmentally advanced yacht ever built, without compromise,” says chief executive Jamie Edmiston. “It was a huge challenge, but one that the team has embraced and delivered on. The yacht we see today, designed by RWD and built by Feadship is without doubt the best yacht ever built. I am proud to have been involved since the inception of this idea.”


It has been widely reported that the yacht was commissioned by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates, who has since changed his mind about owning it — hence the for-sale sign.


The ship contains an apartment for owners with two bedrooms, twin bathrooms and dressing rooms, a gym, a pantry, two offfices each with a fireplace, a living room, an elevator and a staircase lined with bookshelves.


“At each deck level, there are inviting private lifestyle destinations to savour such as a coffee corner and games niche on the bridge deck, a library on the main deck, and a private dining room with a sea terrace and adjacent ensure stateroom on the lower deck,” the press release gushes.


“It creates, in essence, a secluded four-level townhouse-by-the-sea within the much larger yacht.”


The vessel has five decks above the waterline and two below, a swimming pool, jacuzzi and steam room — all making use of “the most efficient waste heat recovery system yet developed” — as well as 14 hidden balconies that slide out at the touch of a button, says Feadship.


Source: Hydrogeninsight

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