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iYacht unveils 55-foot solar electric performance sailing catamaran built from scrap metal

1 week ago 6

Solar electric sailing

German yacht design and engineering studio iYacht GmbH unveiled a 55-foot solar-electric sailing catamaran called the Hu’chu 55. Its makers describe it as “without a doubt one of the most sustainable and compelling challenges undertaken so far.” Built from over 90% scrap metal, this vessel offers an admirable design lesson in circularity.

iYacht GmbH is a German yacht design studio with offices in Hamburg and Kiel, led by CEO Udo A. Hafner. Over the last twenty years, iYacht’s team of 11 engineers, designers, and naval architects has completed over 400 marine projects, from initial design sketches to “Conformite Europeenne” (CE) marking.

For its latest project, iYacht was commissioned by actor, producer, and environmental entrepreneur Daniel Roesner to develop a solar electric sailing catamaran designed, first and foremost, with circularity in mind. The result is the Hu’Chu 55 – a project iYacht’s CEO described as one of its most ambitious to date:

We have designed and engineered a dozen multihulls in recent years, but the Hu’chu 55 represents a significant leap forward in terms of sustainability and circularity. Daniel had a very ambitious vision, and we guided him in turning it into a feasible project.

iYacht brought all hands on deck from both its design offices to bring Roesner’s vision to life, utilizing a unique recycled aluminum developed explicitly for the Hu’Chu 55.

Hu’Chu 55 solar electric sailing vessel is ultra-sustainable

According to iYacht, the Hu’Chu 55 was built using recycled and recyclable materials, including aluminum, developed by the actor/ catamaran owner with the help of a major aluminum manufacturer. The material comprises over 90 % aluminum scrap from discarded license plates, road signs, cosmetic cans, and automotive and construction manufacturing, without a single kilogram of primary metal.

The result is a solar electric sailing catamaran built from material that’s one-eighth of the market’s average footprint in CO2 emissions. Roesner also requested that other sustainable materials, including natural fibers, reclaimed wood, and recycled cork, be incorporated throughout the vessel.

While the Hu’Chu 55 is a sailing catamaran at its core, it is supported by solar electric technology, including photovoltaic panels that not only generate electricity to power an editing bay, grow vegetables, and treat water onboard but also reduce overall consumption.

When sailing isn’t possible, the solar catamaran is equipped with two electric motors powered by a battery pack of over 100 kWh, which solar panels can also recharge. If the sun isn’t out, the batteries can also be replenished via hydrogeneration, in which the boat’s motion passively spins the propellers of the electric motor, generating a recharge through electromagnetic induction—sort of like regenerative braking but for boats.

iYacht states that the Hu’Chu solar electric sailing catamaran was designed so Roesner could live aboard it, which he plans to do while simultaneously producing documentaries about the oceans and monitoring the water quality. Per Roesner:

I have a large circle of friends consisting of divers, free divers, scientists and underwater filmmakers. I would like to collaborate with them to implement various projects on topics such as environmental protection, research and adventure. I also hope to work with various universities. The boat is going to be a platform for sustainable research, adventure, film and circular living. There are a lot of inspirational projects in the world that have helped me put together some of their unconventional ideas. Among them are Low tech lab, Plastiki, and Energy Observer. Hopefully the Hu’chu 55 will be an inspiration to others as well.

Looking ahead, Roesner hopes to find new partners that share in his quest for sustainability at sea and bring the Hu’Chu to series production so more people can utilize the technology and promote circularity in marine vessels.

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