What if the boats ran on methanol? The British are going for it


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Archipelago 47
Archipelago 47

For an industry like boating to become more “sustainable” is easy in words, but in actions it is very complex. We are talking only about recreation, of course, and not ships. Already the
, a material of which the vast majority of boats are constructed, has many critical issues in this regard,
not the least of which is disposal (or scrapping) .
. At the same time, battery electric propulsion has very important obstacles to overcome: battery weight, range, and price. Therefore, different solutions are also looked at. How to develop them? One example comes to us from the United Kingdom.

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The Ministry of Transport with its “UK Shore” plan has put as much as £206 million on the table to boost the development of technology needed to decarbonize the domestic maritime sector. The goal is to have an industry-led transition to Net Zero. Among the proposals is a bio-methanol boat that has secured some of the funding: the project is by Archipelago Yachts, Chartwell Marine, Boat Electrics and Electronics (BEE) and Engineered Marine Systems (EMS).

The bio methanol boat: a UK project

What happens next. With this funding, the site must develop a “demo-boat” that is powered by clean bio-methanol and thus has low carbon emissions. The model chosen? TheArchipelago 47, designed by Chartwell Marine naval architects. It is a nearly 50-foot catamaran with significant volumes, livability and a workboat DNA in terms of structure and strength. The purpose of use? A yacht for family cruising. So we are talking about dimensions that are already significant, for which an appropriate propulsion package is needed.

Biomethanol in boats

The propulsion system that will be used for this new vessel was designed by Archipelago and Chartwell with collaborators BEE and EMS. The project will have a parallel hybrid system, combining clean energy derived from a pair of methanol reformers and hydrogen fuel cells.




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