Sustainability: Catamaran Builders – Sunreef Yachts
Sunreef’s new Eco range of powercats and sailing yachts offers the shipyard’s own ultra-light solar panels, which can be integrated across multiple surfaces, both flat and curved.
The first Sunreef 80 Eco sailing catamaran is expected to debut in late 2021
Sunreef Yachts announced its Eco range in mid-2019 before presenting a detailed overview of the range last April with former F1 champion Nico Rosberg in attendance. However, company founder Francis Lapp emphasises that the luxury catamaran builder has always focused on sustainability, ever since he created the company in Gdansk on Poland’s north coast in 2002.
“Sunreef Yachts was founded on the belief that yachts should be energy efficient,” Lapp says. “From the outset, our craft were designed to combine luxury and intelligent use of energy, so catamarans seemed like the perfect base to express this philosophy. Over the years, the shipyard’s concepts evolved and today the Eco range fully illustrates the company’s vision of green boating.”
Sunreef 80 Eco to launch in summer
Poland’s Sunreef Yachts is targeting a summer premiere for the first model from its Eco range, which features solar power, electric engines and a hydro-generation system.
Following Sunreef’s holistic approach to responsible yachting, the Eco range combines electric propulsion with an in-house solar-power system and ultra-light, high-performance batteries. Inside, a variety of natural, responsibly-sourced or recycled fabrics and materials are used to “balance luxury and sustainability”. The shipyard is also developing green composites using basalt and flax fibre.
The Eco range offers both sailing and motor yachts, with models generally mirroring Sunreef’s standard line of designs. Later this year, Sunreef’s first Eco motor yacht will be the 80 Sunreef Power Eco, the green version of the popular 80 Sunreef Power model that premiered at Cannes in 2019 and has Rafa Nadal and a China-based client among many owners.
Bird’s-eye view of the 80 Sunreef Power Eco, set to launch later this year
Other Sunreef Power Eco models on offer include the 60, 70, 100 and even the 40 Open, a high-powered cat that originally debuted at the Dubai International Boat Show in March 2018 before making its way to the Singapore Yacht Show the following month.
Eco versions are also available for the Sunreef 50, 60, 70 and 80 sailing catamarans, reflecting the new line of models launched from 2018 through 2020. The first Eco sailing yacht will be the flagship Sunreef 80 Eco, which is also scheduled to debut in the second half of 2021.
Sunreef’s solar-power system has been engineered in-house and is manufactured by the shipyard using a patent-pending technology that enables panels to be integrated with structural composite components.
The Sunreef 60 ‘E’ featuring electric propulsion was launched in 2019
They can be mounted anywhere on the yacht’s above-water surfaces including the hulls, mast, superstructure, bimini roof or bow terrace, which greatly increases the amount of solar power that can be produced on such yachts, compared to only offering solar panels on a roof, for example.
Less than 1mm thick, the panels feature “the industry’s most efficient cells”, according to Sunreef, with a peak performance of 24 per cent. Furthermore, they’re also among the lightest in the industry, weighing about 1.8kg/sqm, whereas solar panels typically weigh between 8-15kg/sqm.
Furthermore, tests have proven that Sunreef’s solar panels have a high resistance to shock and abrasion due to their advanced integration technique, which allows them to be used on any surface, including hull sides.
Sunreef prides itself on its customisation and clients can choose which parts of the boat they want covered in solar panels or go for the ‘full package’.
A sample of the curved solar panels produced by Sunreef Yachts
As an example, the solar panels on the 60 Sunreef Power Eco can cover up to 68.6sqm of surface area, extending the solar energy generation to 13kWp. The 70 Sunreef Power Eco offers up to 104.4sqm of solar panels on board and generates up to 20kWp of power.
Remarkably, the upcoming 80 Sunreef Power Eco can be fitted with close to 200sqm of panels, weighing around 360kg and delivering 40kW peak per hour. This solar energy set-up can produce the energy of two generators, which would typically weigh about 800kg ‘all in’.
As such, Sunreef’s optimised solar-panel system can outperform a generator both in performance and weight. With the maximum solar panel surface, the 80 Sunreef Power Eco can also rely solely on renewable energy at reduced cruising speed.
INSIDE AND OUT
Sunreef is also proud of the power density (weight-to-power ratio) of its electric boat batteries, as reduced weight equates to less drag and less energy consumed during propulsion, increasing both performance and autonomy.
Sunreef is also offering a range of sustainable and eco-friendly materials to be used in the interiors
The upcoming 80 Sunreef Power Eco is equipped with custom-engineered marine battery banks, with recent developments making it possible to implement batteries with a density below 5.2kg/kWh. As such, batteries used in Sunreef’s Eco range are now close to 30 per cent lighter than those commonly used in the yachting world.
The Eco catamarans can also be equipped with advanced electric propulsion, allowing power to be generated from the propeller rotation while the yacht is navigating under sail. This energy can be used to power the propulsion battery bank as well as the electronics on board.
As an example, while sailing on the trade wind route across the Atlantic, the yacht can recover between 10-15kWh with 7-10 knots of speed, depending on the model. Lapp also emphasises that the Eco range also focuses on eco-responsible materials as well as sustainable energy sources.
“If yachts are meant to be green, they should be green inside and out,” he says, while emphasising that the yachts are finished “without any compromise on luxury”.
Sunreef has designed their Eco models to be “green inside and out”
The Eco range reduces the use of animal skins by offering a variety of natural fabrics including recycled leather and eco suede, which is made from recycled polyester and is among a wide range of recycled fabrics and materials on offer.
Interior floors can feature advanced hardwood flooring systems or reclaimed teak, salvaged from old houses, boats or other wooden structures. Compressed paper-based materials or recycled glass can be used for countertops to produce solid, practical and weight-efficient surfaces. Meanwhile, natural materials like linen, wool and bamboo combine durability with refined aesthetics.
As well as inside and out, Sunreef focuses on both top and bottom. Non-toxic, silicon-based bottom paints provide efficient protection against marine growth while offering a very low surface ‘roughness’.
The paints are highly durable, impermeable and slick, so reduce drag and increase performance and energy efficiency. The shipyard says the silicon-based antifouling on the 80 Sunreef Power Eco increases speed by up to 5 per cent compared to traditional antifouling.
Nico Rosberg plugs into e-mobility’s winning formula
Rosberg moved into the yachting spotlight last year as the ambassador for Sunreef Yachts’ Eco range of solar-powered catamarans. Meanwhile, the 2016 F1 champion turned sustainability entrepreneur also owns a team in the new Extreme E off-road series for electric SUVs, in which the use of hydrogen offers a window into the fuel’s potential use for yachts.