A Solar-powered Super-yacht for the Super Rich

solar yacht photo

Image from the Guardian

It could be a new addition to the Wretched Excess department. Conde Naste Traveller has already awarded it one of their 2010 Innovation & Design Awards for Sustainable Design.

It's a green super yacht called Soliloquy, which uses a combination of solar, wind and hybrid marine power to move through water. It's just a concept at this point but clients from Monaco and Abu Dhabi have already expressed interest in this floating eco-mansion. So here's the idea. According to the Guardian, the Soliloquy will be an electricity-powered boat covered in photovoltaic film that harnesses the power of the sun. The sails will double as solar panels and be able to produce enough energy to propel the 58-metre-long boat at a cruising speed of eight knots. The hull will be made of sustainable timber instead of the usual more energy-intensive aluminium.

It was designed by a 24 year old, Alastair Callender, who has lived by the sea in Chichester and always been passionate about things nautical.

Not only is it eco, but it is a status symbol. According to a yacht broker based in Monaco, his richest clients are intrigued by the idea that their next floating mansion could be zero-carbon. He said: "I was sceptical at first, but I have spoken to a few clients who are willing to spend a serious amount extra to go green. In the current climate we are unlikely to see as many yachts as large as the Eclipse, but people will want to be first in other ways, such as being the first with a green yacht."

the eclipse photo

Image from the Mail Online: the Eclipse

The 163-metre Eclipse, owned by Roman Abramovich, is so last year. It was launched complete with a military-grade missile defence system, armour-plating around the master suite, bullet-proof windows and a private submarine.

This year's yacht buyer can play one upsmanship by going green. The boat will be clad in energy-gathering photovoltaic cells, giving it a sleek, black appearance. Together with the sails, the solar panels will fuel four cells that will work in conjunction with diesel engines beneath deck when there is not enough solar power. Callender predicts the engines will only need to be fired on rare occasions, because super-yachts are mostly used in sunny climes.

If you are interested in the details, the spec. includes a gym, redundant power sources, zero emission mode, ability to run houseloads without generators running, ability to power the grid at a marina where facilities are available, and the gym equipment will charge the main batteries when in use.

The interior has 4 staterooms and a gym. It is likely to feature recycled leather, natural fibre upholstery and wood only from sustainable forests.

The designer is an optimist about the chances of sales. He says: "These giant gin palaces use a huge amount of fuel and produce so much pollution, I wanted to prove the point that eco-luxury no longer needs to be an oxymoron. Even if billionaires don't want to be green, they can save money. There are at least 100 families around the world worth £200m or more who have invested in green technologies and businesses or made hefty financial commitments to the environment."

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