Using an electric motor for a yacht’s auxiliary propulsion has become popular as the need for more environmentally acceptable power increases. A great advantage of using an electric motor is that it can work as a generator by harnessing energy from the ‘free-wheeling’, controllable pitch propeller when the yacht is sailing.
The electric motor becomes a generator, which charges a battery bank and in turn supplies power to the sailing systems and services aboard the yacht.
Largest superyacht with electric propulsion
The 400kW permanent magnet electric propulsion unit aboard Baltic 142 Canova is a fraction of the size of a diesel equivalent. It is virtually vibration free and almost silent in operation, which means there are significant weight and space savings through reduced insulation. An electric motor’s low maintenance costs are also attractive and its emissions are nil. This genuine custom, hybrid diesel-electric system is designed for hydrogeneration while the yacht is sailing and enables her to use all services without having to deploy a fossil-fuelled ICE (internal combustion engine).
As the accompanying graph shows, the average generating capability in this early trial averaged 27kW with the yacht sailing at 16 knots with an output of more than 35kW when sailing at around 20 knots.
These and subsequent results have exceeded our expectations and we can now confidently say that in a moderate breeze Canova could cross an ocean with almost all her electrical systems working, without having to resort to an internal combustion engine to drive a generator. Again, the reduction in emissions and fuel costs are substantial, to say the least.
With Canova’s ground-breaking DSS athwartships foil deployed to leeward for extra performance, hydro-generation becomes even more effective.