Key Sustainability Trends in the Maritime Sector

The global movement in environmental sustainability is reshaping the maritime sector and the future of yacht architecture. Clients are becoming more environmentally aware and are looking for yachts that embody sustainable solutions to limit their impact on the environment.

This includes clients willing to spend more to harness innovation that will create a greener yacht. The industry is responding to the change in consumer demand, and the issue that shipyards and manufactures are facing is how to integrate sustainable solutions into their production lines.

Leading yacht shows in Europe this year, such as the Monaco Yacht Show and Cannes Yachting Show, showcased the world’s most sustainable yachts and created sustainable hubs to highlight the topic at the forefront of the industry. It is clear that owners, designers and manufacturers are working towards an ultimate goal; a 100% emission free yacht.

In this article, we highlight the key sustainable developments across the industry that are changing the way yachts are being designed, built and operated, which include; emission free and hybrid electric yachts, integrated renewable energy sources, certified greener engines, the exploration of biofuels and the innovation in eco-friendly yacht architecture.

Yacht Design

Yacht architecture are innovating in yacht design elements to enhance sustainability. Examples are yacht architects optimising the hull lines, proportions and weight of the yacht, which requires an expert yacht architecture to create the most efficient and balanced yacht possible, which results in the yacht consuming less fuel and reducing the carbon footprint. An example is yacht architect, Philippe Briand, who has a goal to design motor yachts that are 30 per cent more efficient than normal. Multi-hull yachts are also regarded more eco-friendly due to the spacious structure weighing less and consuming less energy to operate.

Another example of sustainable yacht design is the Hull Vane, a vessel manufacturer that develops innovative solutions on a yachts hull to improve a yachts fuel efficiency. The company has reduced 13,547 tons of CO2 emitted in the ocean.

Renewable Energy Sources

The Industry is shifting away from diesel fuelled engines to find cleaner sources of energy, and manufactures have begun innovating to reach the sustainable targets. In response to the International Maritime Organisation, which has targeted a sector-wide carbon intensity reduction of 40% between 2008 and 2030, furthermore to achieve a 50% GHG emissions cut by 2040, there have been many innovative developments in the attempt to replace a fossil fuelled engine.

Clients are prioritising sustainability above all else and are looking for the next revolution in the engine to create sustainable power sources. Many yacht builders have begun integrating renewable energy sources into the design, an example are hybrid yachts which provide the option between using an electric battery and a diesel engine. The balance between the two and less reliance on generators and diesel engines reduces the yachts carbon emissions.

Solar panel technology is another popular sustainable approach, regarded as an efficient back up option which recharges the yachts batteries and appliances on board which boosts the yachts efficiency. An example is the Sanlorenzo SP110 which is a 33-metre jet-powered superyacht, which has a deckhouse designed specifically for solar panels. The yacht operates at the lowest fuel consumption, reducing its impact on the environment.

One step further, some shipyards are building new yachts that are now fully powered from renewable energy, an example is the all-electric Sunreef 80 Eco by Sunreef Yachts, which has solar panels within the hull sides, mast, superstructure and bimini, The yacht can deliver up to 36kWp and has the ability to cruise in total silence.

The Cleaner Engine

The industry has been innovating and made progressive steps to create a cleaner engine. An example is the luxury brand, Rolls-Royce, which are working towards fully sustainable operations and have set a target of net zero greenhouse emissions by 2030. The company has been experimenting with yacht engine technology in 2022 and have launched a series of sustainable solutions for a yachts propulsion system to lower a yachts carbon footprint.

This includes the mtu system which has been certified by the IOM III, a hybrid system and exhaust gas after treatment. The treatment system includes a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) which significantly reduces the yachts nitrogen oxide emissions to a level which will allow the yacht to sail in protected waters, such as the Caribbean.

A hybrid mtu system which will launch in 2023, will increase the yachts efficiency and reduces its carbon footprint by the switching to an electric power engine. It also includes many other electric components including batteries, gearboxes and monitoring systems. The technology can be designed to operate on different size yachts, and in addition to the reduced emissions, the technology provides a superior performance, resulting in a smoother and quieter sailing. The company are working towards developing bespoke sustainable technology depending the owners’ unique desires.

The mtu engines are regarded to have the highest and most reliable technology to meet the IOM III emission targets. They have stated that more technologies will follow to help manufacturers meet sustainability targets in the Paris Agreement, including an mtu engine that can utilise e-diesel and biofuels, which produce lower and cleaner emissions. These developments in sustainable technology demonstrate a promising landscape for the future of eco-friendly yachting.   

Bio fuels such as hydrogen, provide a cleaner energy source and reduces a yachts carbon emissions. Bio fuels are an efficient solution for yacht manufactures searching for ways to implement sustainable solutions in their supply chain as they can be utilised in a combustion engine, which historically is used for fossil fuels. Although bio fuels provide a cleaner solution, it has been suggested that the evolution of renewable fuels, known as e-fuels which are produced by electricity, will revolutionise the future.

Greener Materials

In addition to the structural design, suppliers are searching for a way to reduce a yachts environmental impact by utilising by using greener materials. It has been noted that 250,000 tonnes of fibreglass is discarded every year in Europe which material could be repurposed or re-cycled to build another yacht.

An example of a sustainable manufacturing company is a new Dutch brand, Vann, which is building with recycled materials. The company have launched its first aluminium 42ft R4 Model which is made from 100% recycled materials, with hulls made from 60% recycled aluminium material.

Many manufacturers are experimenting with sustainability in raw materials such as bio-resins, made from b-products from sugar cane and structural fibres, such basalt fibre. These raw materials emit significantly less carbon emissions to produce, reducing their yachts overall environmental impact. Basalt fibre has been identified to reduce carbon emissions by 50% in comparison to fibre glass materials.

Waste Conscious

Adopting a waste conscious approach at the beginning of the design process is fundamental to limit the amount of materials wasted at the end of a supply chain and to plan around wasting less materials at the start of the supply chain.

Many yacht interiors are functional and perfectly fit for use, yet are stripped back and re-designed to create most the modern appearance and showcase the latest design trends. These materials can be re-used for other interiors or design elements. 

A waste conscious approach also relates to purchasing on-board to limit the amount of waste and consumption, including the use of single use plastic. The industry has even witnessed sustainable initiatives on the yacht, such as garden kitchens and green cleaning products.

Yacht designers are also looking past the structural architecture in enhancing sustainably and limit waste by searching for ways to incorporate it in existing spaces. An example is creating a greener area on the outside deck, which gets the maximum use out of an empty space and can provide a variety of produce for the kitchen. Guests are able to enjoy fresh, organic ingredients and an overall more sustainable plate.

Affinity’s Yachting Services

We have been operating in the yachting sector since our formation in 2004 and have been assisting clients with an excellent service which encompasses exceptional attention detail. Our years of experience has developed our cohesive list of services at a very competitive rate.

As a boutique company with an international reach, we provide a personal approach to corporate services which involves close support from a dedicated team member in every aspect of registering a yacht, and the administration thereafter.

Our team members provide our clients with bespoke consultancy to meet their personal goals, and their experience in the sector enables them to deliver the most efficient solution for the client, from the implementation of tax-efficient ownership structures and VAT registration.

Our yachting services include;

  • Implementation of tax-efficient ownership structures
  • VAT, compliance and administration
  • Multi-jurisdictional EU VAT registrations
  • VAT efficient importation into the EU
  • Administration of the ownership structure
  • Yacht registration
  • Management and administration of crew payroll
  • Liaison with banks and advisors in relation to financing the yacht
  • Registration of mortgages
  • Liaison with legal advisors and brokers in respect of purchase and sale
  • Payment of supplier invoices and management of crew expenditure and limits
  • Preparation of budgets, periodic management reports and annual financial statements
  • Statutory administration services

If you would like to schedule a meeting with our team, please contact them directly or alternatively contact us here.