Design for World-First Methanol-Powered Leisure Vessel Completed

Design for World-First Methanol-Powered Leisure Vessel Completed

Archipelago Yachts and Chartwell Marine have completed the design for the world’s first zero-carbon, methanol-powered leisure vessel the Archipelago zero.63. 

Archipelago zero.63 boasts a revolutionary parallel hybrid system that seamlessly combines the clean energy derived from a pair of methanol reformers and hydrogen fuel cells. 

The system allows for the vessel to cruise silently at speeds of up to 10 knots. For high-speed performance, the design includes a direct-injection methanol engine, enabling the boat to reach a top speed of 22 knots. 

This parallel hybrid system will be fuelled by a substantial 10,000-litre methanol tank, providing a range of approximately 2,500 nautical miles. 

Further green credentials are added by the fact that the Archipelago zero.63 is built from low-impact aluminium. The Archipelago zero.63 also aligns with Innovate UK’s ‘Transport Vision 2050’, which aims to incorporate methanol as a viable marine fuel, targeting approximately 25 per cent usage by 2050. 

Due to the novel nature of this vessel, Chartwell Marine and Archipelago Yachts have conducted extensive assessments of the design in collaboration with Lloyd’s Register.

Commenting on the project, Dr. Stephen Weatherley, founder and managing director of Archipelago Yachts, said: 

“Our vessel design uses methanol-to-hydrogen reforming technology to power a modern and attractive, silent, zero-carbon leisure vessel. The yacht will be state of the art for zero-carbon technology, built from low-impact aluminium, using recycled materials wherever possible. There are plenty of electric leisure vessels in the market which can travel short distances quickly or long distances slowly, but none can perform in high sea states, cross oceans, and be zero-carbon all at the same time”.

Andy Page, managing director of Chartwell Marine echoed Weatherley’s comments, saying: 

“Utilising methanol as a feedstock for onboard propulsion and hotel loads is a real alternative to using diesel. The system developed for the zero.63 is simple, robust and manageable in terms of weight and geometry without significant compromise to the vessel aesthetic, interior or function. Using a parallel-hybrid propulsion system allows owners to operate the yacht silently using electric propulsion, as well as methanol combustion for high speed operation”.

With the design phase now complete, Archipelago Yachts and Chartwell Marine have expressed their intention to build and unveil the ‘Methanol Pathfinder UK’. This will be a one-of-a-kind demonstrator vessel that will ‘showcase the potential of methanol as a marine fuel’. 

According to a joint statement from the two companies, ‘The Methanol Pathfinder UK will serve as a platform for proof of concept, inspiring confidence among manufacturers and innovators in the marine sector. It promises to be cost-effective to build, making it an attractive proposition for banks and funders. Moreover, its hydrodynamic design, reminiscent of crew and fast ferry transport vessels, opens up opportunities for commercial exploitation and deployment worldwide’. 

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