Project 821: The world’s first hydrogen-powered superyacht

Project 821 is took five years to build and is now for sale through superyacht broker Edmiston. Hugo Andreae reports

The Feadship yard Royal Van Lent has launched the world’s first hydrogen-powered superyacht. The 390ft (119m) megayacht, known for now as Project 821, uses electro-chemical fuel-cells to convert fossil-free ‘green hydrogen’ into electrical energy. The only by-product is water, in the form of steam.

It takes 16 of these compact 185kW fuel cells to provide enough energy to charge the relatively small battery bank that acts as a buffer storage facility between the fuel cells and the twin 3,200kW electric ABB pod thrusters, which propel the yacht.

Hydrogen is a relatively abundant resource (H20 is the chemical formula for water) and can be produced cleanly using green electricity to split water molecules but it is complicated to store. A pressurised double-wall cryogenic 92m² fuel tank on board the yacht keeps it at a temperature of -253°C and even then it takes up roughly 10 times the space of an equivalent diesel tank. However, liquid hydrogen is light – 1m³ weighs just 70kg, compared to 830kg for diesel – to help offset the extra volume.

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A full tank of hydrogen should allow for a week’s worth of cruising at 10 knots and all the usual hotel load requirements. The yacht’s tanks can also be used to carry methanol, which a steam process can convert into hydrogen to extend its fuel-cell range.

The yacht is not completely ICE free, however. For greater autonomy in areas where hydrogen supply might be problematic or when crossing an ocean, it can function in a more conventional diesel-electric mode thanks to five MTU generators, which can run off both conventional diesel or sustainable HVO biodiesel. Its maximum speed is 17 knots and at a 14-knot fast-cruise, its range should be 6,500nm.

It took five years to build this ground-breaking 390ft megayacht

In total, the fuel cells, cryotank, switching equipment for the DC power grid and vent stacks for the water vapour exhausts added around 14m to the overall length of the design over a conventional diesel installation.

Other features aboard Project 821 include a beach club with a 27ft contraflow pool, a cinema, a mini hospital and an underwater ‘Nemo’ lounge tucked into the keel. There is accommodation for 30 guests and 44 crew.

She took five years to build and is now for sale through superyacht broker Edmiston.

The price is confidential but we estimate it will be well north of half-a-billion euros.


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