Electrons #4: arcs, sparks and electric boat news

Plugboats ELECTRONS is an occasional collection of electric boat news and boating items that we have written about before and are updating, or are going to write about but are waiting for more information / developments – or are just interesting tidbits you might want to be aware of. So without further ado, here is ELECTRONS 4, with electric boat and boating news about:

  • Ingenity / Watershed Innovation / Nautique
  • Corvus Energy
  • Silent Yachts
  • Korona – 1989 winner of the world’s first solar boat boat race retires
  • Salona Yachts
  • Sea Change – the San Francisco hydrogen-powered ferry

Ingenity’s Super Air Nautique GS22E one of 5 Boat of the Year finalists

Ingenity electric boat speeding across waterBoating Magazine’s Boat of the Year is the most prestigious award in US recreational boating. It celebrates innovation, invention, envelope pushing and category busting. The magazine’s Tech Team tests 100 different boats to see how each boat compares with others of the same type, and how a given boat fits into the bigger picture of how boats, and boating, continue to evolve.

This year the team has selected an all-electric boat –  Ingenity’s Super Air Nautique GS22E – as one of five finalists for 2021 Boat of The Year, citing its electric power, great performance, a top-notch build, and luxury.

The GS22E was first seen publicly in a sneak peek at the Seattle Boat Show in January of 2019 and was formally launched a few months later at the Miami Boat Show. It is a powerful (pun intended) demonstration of the work of three companies that fall under the Correct Craft corporate umbrella: Ingenity, Nautique and Watershed Innovation.

It places the electric propulsion system and 124 kWh battery by Ingenity into the Nautique GS22 hull – renowned for its ability to generate the world’s best wakes and waves – with the overall product falling perfectly into the mission of the Watershed Innovation division: “identifying, researching, developing and integrating exponential technologies to benefit Correct Craft, its subsidiaries and the marine industry“.

Ingenity Electric President Sean Marrero said, “Ingenity has done something special with the GS22E because it shows that you can have all of the fun without any emissions. Being a finalist for the most prestigious award in recreational boating sends a strong message that our electric boat industry is more than just prepared to offer solutions for a more sustainable future. We are actually doing it.”

The winner of the Boat of the Year Award will be announced in January.

In related news, Correct Craft announced that it is a Founding Partner of the City of Orlando/Orlando Utilities Commission 2030 Solar Pledge and is building solar power installations at the facilities that house Nautique and Watershed with a commitment to have it powered 100% by solar energy by 2030.


Corvus Energy celebrates 500th installation with 3 zero-emission harbour tugs

electric boat news - this tugboat is the 500th installation of Corvus energy technologyFounded in 2009,  Corvus Energy is a pioneer of lithium-ion battery technology for maritime applications and the leader in zero-emission solutions for ocean vessels with the highest number of installations worldwide. It has announced that its milestone 500th order is for the supply of the 5,288 kWh batteries for each of three zero-emission harbour tugs plying the waters of Kitimat, British Columbia, Canada.

The ownership of Corvus includes strategic investors like  Equinor Ventures, Norsk Hydro, BW Group and Shell Ventures. The company  is based in Vancouver, B.C. and Bergen Norway, where CEO Geir Bjørkeli, CEO said ““Reaching project number 500 is a significant milestone for Corvus Energy and for the maritime community. Our batteries make up over half of all the energy storage capacity deployed on board ships today, and we estimate they have saved over three hundred million litres of diesel, avoiding almost one billion kilograms of CO2 emissions.”

Corvus Energy has a full portfolio of energy storage system (ESS) for almost every vessel type. Its best known product is probably the ORCA modular lithium-ion battery systems, used on boats like the 500 passenger arctic cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen. In total their installations have 3.5 million operating hours and storage capacity of 350 megaWatthours. They recently launched a hydrogen fuel cell initiative for maritime applications with Toyota Corporation, who installed the fuel cell system on the hydrogen research ship Energy Observer.


Silent Yachts celebrates sale of 1st Silent 100

electric boat news - the Silent Yachts Silent 100 sailingAlthough they haven’t reached a milestone of 500 boats (yet!), Silent Yachts is celebrating the first sale of its new 31 metre flagship model, the Silent 100 Explorer that was revealed at the 2021 Cannes Yachting Festival in September. The main difference between the 100 and previous flagship – the Silent 80 – is the amount of additional space on board. Its master suite has almost double the size: 51 sqm compared to 27 sqm.

Speaking about this inaugural sale, Silent Yachts founder and electric boat pioneer Michael Köhler said: “This new sale comes after the sale of three of our 80-foot models in rapid succession and confirms the market’s interest in the superior comfort of catamarans and solar energy for propulsion needs, as well as all the household appliances on board.”

The speed of development of solar boats by Silent Yachts is pretty remarkable. Michael and his wife Heike first started building a prototype solar powered catamaran in 2009 and by 2018 their 20 metre Silent 64 became the first serial production solar yacht to sail across the Atlantic Ocean.

Now, just 4 years later the four deck Silent 100 Explorer has worldwide cruising capabilities, is fitted with a solar-electric drive train that has a cruising speed of 10 knots and a top speed of 14-16 knots, sports five ensuite cabins on the main deck of the starboard hull and has solar panels fitted along the hardtop, which slides out to reveal a sundeck that can double up as a touch and go helipad.


1989 winner of world’s 1st solar boat race sails off into a museum sunset

electric boat news - students on the solar boat Korona in 1988The solar boat Korona was built in 1988 by students at Germany’s Technical University of Konstanz under the guidance of Professor Dr. Christian Schaffrin. Students had come up with the idea of building this engineering masterpiece in 1986 and in 1989 she travelled to Switzerland to win the world’s first solar boat race, followed by victories in many solar boat races in other countries through the years.

After a ‘career’ spanning more than thirty years, she was launched for one last time on September 17, 2021 before retiring to become an exhibit at the German Museum of Technology in Berlin.

Many student and master projects centred on developing the total system design and optimization of Korona. Everything, including the hull and propeller, had to be specifically engineered for maximum efficiency as the only supply of electricity came from the standard solar panels of the day, placed on the roof and bow. 

The fuselage was based on development work by the Research Institute for Inland Shipbuilding, Duisburg, and was manufactured by the Heistracher company in Chiemsee. The shaft used a toothed belt drive to transfer the torque of the asynchronous motor to the propeller.

Using  a 2.2 kW motor, the Korona had a cruising speed of 9 kmh / 5 knots and a top speed of 12 kmh / 6.5 knots. She was the subject of much student research for many years and also available to all interned members of the university’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology for careful use on Lake Konstanz.

Congratulations to Prof. Schaffrin for his leadership and lifetime accomplishments!

The Korona helped paved the way for 2021 accomplishments and competitions like the Silent Yachts 100 Explorer above and the Monaco Solar and Energy Boat Challenge, which has been running since 2014. This past July, 32 teams from 15 countries competed in the 8th running of the challenge – many trying to top the speed record of 49.2kmh / 26.5 knots set in 2016 by the Clafis Victron Energy solar boat.

Read the story of the world’s very first solar boat, built in 1975


Salona 46 wins best Green Boat Award at Newport Boat Show

electric boat news - a green 'Best Green Boat' burgee on the Salona 46The Newport International Boat Show (NIBS) was cancelled in 2020, but came roaring back in September of 2021 to celebrate its 50th anniversary as one of the largest in-water events in the U.S.  In a reflection of the growing interest in environmentally friendlier boating, the Best Green Boat award had more entrants competing than ever before, with the prize going to the Salona 46.

The electric sailboat’s twin Oceanvolt electric propulsion system was highlighted for its zero emissions and ability to hydrogenerate energy back into the battery bank while under sail. “The judges noted the Salona S46′s game-changing twin electric motor propulsion system by Oceanvolt, and its design intended to maximize racing potential while also providing a large, comfortable cockpit, were winning features in the Best Green Boat category.”

The S46 is the next generation of Salona’s S44, which won sailboat of the year in the US in 2015. For this year, Hull #1 of the S46 was brought to the United States by Green Yachts. On the 45 mile sail from New London, CT to the Newport show the Green Yachts crew averaged over 9 knots and said “Not only is the Salona S46 electric, but it is the best sailing cruiser we have ever seen.”

One of the other electric winners at NIBS was new electric outboard manufacturer Flux Marine, who took home the honours for Best Green Product.

Radio station WADK was onsite at the Show and anchor Bobb Angel interviewed Graham Balch of Green Yachts about the Salona S46, hydrogeneration, and electric boating in general. Click below to listen to the interview.


San Francisco hydrogen ferry set to go with clean fuel supply

electric boat news - hydrogen ferry on sea trial runAs is the case with lots of green mobility solutions, a big item that needs to be addressed is where and how to source clean electricity or hydrogen to run a fossil fuel free vessel. SWITCH Maritime, developers of the hydrogen ferry Sea Change, can now tick that off their to-do list, having inked a deal with West Coast Clean Fuels to develop, permit, manage and operate the end-to-end fuel supply chains for the boat.

Sea Change is a 70-foot, 75-passenger ferry that will operate in San Francisco Bay. Its beginnings go back to 2016 when Joseph Pratt, then at the hugely respected Sandia Laboratories, undertook a landmark study to determine whether or not it was feasible to build and operate a 35-knot passenger ferry that could travel at least 100 nm between refueling.

It was so feasible that Joe went on to found Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine which went on to become Zero Emissions Industries, which caught the attention of SWITCH in its investment mission to decarbonize the U.S. maritime sector by building and leasing zero-carbon vessels.

Construction of Sea Change’s aluminum hull began in early 2019 in California with the equipment installation being done in 2020 in Bellingham, Washington.

In August of this year the completed ferry went into the water, and with the arrangements now in place for hydrogen supply, the last element of the process is sea trials and getting final approval from the US Coast Guard, who have been supportive of the project all the way.

If all goes well, San Francisco commuters should be able to look out at Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and their ‘City by the Bay’ while travelling emission free on the first fuel cell vessel in the United States.

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