Futuristic wind energy powered superyacht being pioneered by Inergy

Inergy is looking to the future through its new Gemma series of superyachts
Inergy is looking to the future through its new Gemma series of superyachts

US wind turbine manufacturer, Inergy, has given an enticing glimpse into the future of environmentally friendly superyachts, which will be powered by wind energy. Gemma One, measuring just over 30 metres, will be the flagship vessel for the new Gemma series of environmentally friendly superyachts developed by Inergy.

The Gemma One is a new generation clean vessel. It is a practical, safe, conservatively styled, amenity-rich and highly automated boat that can be 100% powered by renewable energy, offering nearly unlimited remote operation.

The wind turbine on the Gemma One is able to power and store the energy from the winds on the water. It just makes sense since wind resources are generally consistent on open and coastal waters. The Gemma One provides battery energy storage so even when the vessel is stationary it is producing and storing power. This eliminates many systems, drastically simplifying vessel operation and maintenance.

Key Features:

Cycles averages are days long supporting battery life of decades
Eliminates concerns about getting bad fuel; electronics will handle power quality issues when charging from shore power – “no bad electrons”
Proper system architecture provides for multiple redundancies
Compared to an automobile, charge/discharge rates are low–reducing cooling system requirements and stress on batteries and electronics
Without the diesels it is possible to eliminate the heat, humidity, and vibrations from the environment that contains critical equipment, drastically reducing maintenance of these systems and prolonging their lives

Eliminates the following systems:

Fuel tanks with corrosion, algae, water, contamination, grounding, ventilation, discharge, and safety concerns
Raw water cooling systems–strainers, heat exchangers, clogging, fouling, hot spot failures, corrosion
Fuel polishing systems
Oil systems maintenance–filters, pumps, new oil storage, old oil disposal, bilge contamination, oil leaks and mess
Exhaust systems
Turbochargers
Fuel injectors and injection systems
Air intake systems and intercoolers
Valve systems maintenance
Transmissions
Alternators

Enabling Technologies:

The primary enablers are: (1) a dramatic increase in the development of high density battery systems for electric vehicle applications; (2) the (re) development and commercialization of a vertical axis turbine with characteristics favorable for use on a vessel; (3) the now widespread availability of energy efficient products, such as motor driven machines and computing electronics; and (4) the advent of low cost microcontrollers that are easily interfaced and programmed to do monitoring, diagnostic, fault prediction, and control automation functions.

Why Wind Power?
As with utility scale renewable energy, wind is king. Of the available renewable energies at sea, wind is the most compact at scale. A mere 3000 lb. turbine can produce almost 700 kWh on a daily basis on average (Caribbean winds), comparable to a 30kW genset running continuously at full load. Solar PV is excellent technology, and will augment the wind power on the vessel. Others, namely the impressive MS Türanor, have proven that it can be the sole source of energy on a long-range vessel. The trouble is it requires a tremendous amount of exposed surface area to achieve propulsion-scale power, limiting the usability and aesthetics of the vessel. To get the same power from PV you need over 9000 ft², and at a close to optimal static angle relative to the sun.

The EcoVert’s Benefits:

Wind resources are generally consistent on open and coastal waters
Unlike a traditional sailboat, wind power can be stored for use later (overnight or days at anchor for instance)
EcoVert is quiet, relatively slow, bird-friendly, and not a hazard to vessel occupants from a collision standpoint
Gyro effect of turbine helps dampen vessel motion
Pitch control provides extremely high efficiencies and the ability to shed load when wind is stronger than can be captured
Unique design collapses and locks for in harbor vessel maneuvering
Floating ‘weathervane mode’ safe for extreme wind events

About the Gemma Series by Inergy:

A 100’ tri-hull LR cruiser that has a narrow main hull and pure displacement outrigger hulls that can fold from a stable 60’ beam to within 30’ for in port operation and berthing. The outrigger hulls also have jacks to lift the main hull many feet out of the water for catamaran-like operation at sea. Large battery banks that serve both propulsion and hotel loads are housed in these outrigger hulls and the positioning actuators are able to balance the ship and provide some cushion to inertial loading in heavy seas. The main hull supports a marine-specific 70kW vertical-axis wind turbine based on the EcoVert 75. All accommodations, entertainment, and utility areas are also within the main hull. Energy efficiency in propulsion, hydrodynamic resistance, and hotel loads will play a strong role in the vessel’s execution. Her level of automation will be almost drone-like. High length-beam ratio outrigger hulls provide for excellent efficiency, inherent safety in keeping the energy storage away from occupants, and high stability in both pitch and roll to eliminate the need for power-hungry active stabilization. The outriggers also host azimuth thrusting electric propulsion drives that provide precision maneuverability, including sideways motion.

The vessel will have nearly unlimited range at five knots and be able to make 9 knots in a 20 knot wind continuously. Top speed will be 16 knots and she will cover over 100 nmi at that speed. Draft with the main hull floated will be a mere three feet and less than five feet when elevated clear of the water for cruising. Sound levels, as with any well engineered battery electric vessel, will be impressively low. Part of what makes the EcoVert a good fit for a vessel are its slow operating speeds and good blade tip geometries, which minimize turbulence and result in a quiet turbine.

Layout is customer specific, but most likely has the main deck interior split between a galley, dinette, and salon aft and a spacious full-beam master suite fore. A large outdoor dining and entertaining area consumes the main aft deck while a small piece of the bow on this level is accessible for anchoring equipment and cleats. The couches on the aft deck lift with the deck hatches to open a 15’ x 30’ humidity-controlled garage for tenders and other equipment the owner wants aboard. The lower deck houses a cockpit aft, the garage, a mechanical and electrical systems area, 2-4 additional staterooms, and crew quarters. The bridge deck has a lounge with floor-to-ceiling windows along with the ship’s primary control station and chart table/workstation. A 320 ft² fully equipped entertaining/operating flybridge with hardtop crowns the superstructure. Secure control panels are located in key areas, including the bow and cockpit, to allow full access to vessel control—minimizing crew requirements. In all, the vessel has more than 3500 ft² of usable interior and exterior floor space.

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