As the world’s first truly hybrid superyacht, the groundbreaking 84m/274ft motor yacht SAVANNAH promises to change the charter experience forever. But how does all of her pioneering engineering work?
Delivered to enormous fanfare in 2015, SAVANNAH is unquestionably one of the most unique Feadship motor yachts ever built.
Indeed, her striking profile and series of standout features are supported by a wholly eco-friendly kind of engineering which makes her a product of innovation.
Promising a quieter cruising experience and an enhanced fuel efficiency, the ingenious integration of engine and electrical power ultimately led to her winning a series of awards as well as being named the ‘Motor Yacht of the Year’ in 2016.
In this article we take a look beneath the hood to explain how exactly the world’s first truly hybrid superyacht gets from one fantastic destination to the next.
Pioneering propulsion systems
Her groundbreaking ‘Breath System’ combines a number of technologies to create a whole new kind of propulsion which allows for fuel economies of over 30% whilst increasing manoeuvrability, a feat unrivalled by any other superyacht, and a point which demonstrates the innovative approach which has come to define the iconic Dutch shipyard.
Commenting on the mechanics of the Breath System, McCumber points out how “It is not the individual technologies used on Savannah that are new in the yachting world – it is the way they have been combined”.
Indeed, despite how impressive and ingenious the system is, all of it is underlined by a breathtaking simplicity.
Advanced hybrid technologies
Consisting of only a few components - a medium speed diesel engine, a single propeller and an electrical driven azimuthing stern thruster, to be exact- the Breath System allows captains to effortlessly alternate between four ‘operational modes’ to cruise in only the most eco-friendly way.
From ‘manoeuvring mode’ to ‘high-speed mode’, the various combinations of components means that energy is conserved by switching off parts when they’re not needed- the main engine and generators won’t be online when navigating the port, for example.
As the world’s first truly hybrid superyacht, and with plenty of modern style, SAVANNAH promises to deliver a highly unique charter experience
Similarly, ‘range mode’ generates all of the power via the medium speed diesel engine, a configuration which ultimately cuts back on the maintenance hours and significantly reduces fuel consumption. Driving the propeller via the gearbox, this mode also allows for a maximum speed of 14 knots.
For when higher speeds are necessary, the captain has the option of utilising the generators and main engine in tandem, with the option of further power from the batteries helping SAVANNAH to travel at 18 knots.
Other innovative solutions which help define SAVANNAH as a veritable ‘green machine’ are to be found in her impressive mechanics. Her propeller, for instance, is larger in diameter than those found on vessels of a similar size- a fact which ensures a greater efficiency whilst reducing noise and vibrations.
Likewise, the medium speed diesel engine integrated in the ‘Breath System’ runs at around 900-1000 rpm which is vastly more efficient than those which are usually selected and run between 1600 to 2400 rpm.
As well as being friendlier to the environment, her engineering and dynamic arrangement ramp up the reliability as each of the components is strong enough to propel the yacht in the unlikely event of others failing. Should the main engine or gearbox fail , for example, the yacht can still be propelled and steered with the azimuthing thruster.
Whilst low speed diesel engines are a fixture on most commercial vessels, and batteries have appeared on certain Japanese cargo ships, SAVANNAH’s hybrid combination of generators, a single propellor, a medium speed engine, and batteries, is entirely unique.