As fuel cost continue to rise, improving the energy efficiency of power generation on superyacht vessels has become a priority. Engine manufacturers are now working hand-in-hand with naval architects to ensure the next generation of the world’s largest yachts are more efficient than present day vessels.
Jana Sheeder, President of SailAway Yacht Charters and luxury yacht charter industry maven reports there is great promise in the use of natural gas. “We see dual fuel engines as a developing trend; engines that can run on either natural gas or diesel fuel,” says Sheeder. “Converting an existing diesel engine to operate in a dual capacity is a fairly simple procedure. The biggest challenge for existing yachts is where to find room for the natural gas tank storage. This will be less of an issue for new-builds, as naval architects can design storage space at the inception.”
Several manufacturers are already marketing gas conversion systems for Caterpillar generators, and Caterpillar, itself, is committed to build duel fuel engines for the future. Joel Feucht, an energy director at Caterpillar reports the company is, “All-in” on gas. “We are going to invest because we see a global market long term. Large engines are going gas. It’s not debatable; it’s our conclusion.”