Croatian shipyard Brodosplit has announced the start of consolidation and assembly of sheet metal to produce sections of a zero-emission passenger ship with electric generator propulsion.

According to a press release, the “electric sailboat” is a “so-called three-masted schooner” which will be 63.50 meters long and 10 meters wide, with a height of 5.35 meters at the main deck.

The hull and superstructure will be in steel and the masts in aluminum alloy. When not sailing, the ship will be powered by two 150 kW electric motors, each powered by a system of batteries charged continuously from different sources.

When it reaches a speed of 6 knots, it will only require 60 kilowatts of power, which is quite discreet for a 500 GT boat. The vessel will be fitted with 30 tonnes of batteries with a maximum capacity of 2300 kWh, but due to legal requirements it will also have two diesel generators which will only be switched on when needed or in an emergency.

According to the shipyard, the idea of ​​a zero-emission ship was born “several years ago” and matured with the growth and development of the DIV group in the field of new technologies. It is now ready for implementation, Brodosplit wrote.

Work on the project started in February 2020 and was co-funded by the EU funding call “Increasing the development of new products and services from research and development activities – phase II”.

According to the press release, the project aims to “research, develop and build an eco-innovation in the form of a sailboat for optimal 24 passengers”. Propulsion technologies and alternative energy sources have been developed based on an environmentally friendly design that aims to “achieve emission-free sustainable mobility, by supporting environmental sustainability and reducing gas emissions to greenhouse effect and air and noise pollution”.

The DIV Group acts as project leader and collaboration has been established with scientific institutions to improve the interaction and transfer of knowledge and technologies between industry and universities and public research institutes, at the benefit businesses and public sector researchers.

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Information Technology in Osijek is responsible for the development of kinetic wind energy storage systems by hydrokinetic energy conversion (water turbines and reversible propellers) and battery management/integrated marine energy systems (energy storage, monitoring, and control, management), while the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture in Split is working on sailing systems, l sailing automation (robotics), wind turbines and photovoltaic systems.

There will be two vertical wind turbines at the bow and stern which will supply the ship with electricity when it is in port and the sails are lowered. A photovoltaic solar system will be installed on the roof of the superstructure. The ship will therefore be supplied with electricity and water from fully renewable sources and will obtain all its energy without any CO2 emissions. So not only is the ship 100% “green,” it also has virtually no cost for fuel and propulsion machinery, Brodosplit said.

According to Tomislav Debeljak’s idea, the ship also charges its batteries while sailing in a “very sophisticated way”. What distinguishes this electric sailboat from similar vessels is the fact that, said the owner of the DIV group.

In addition to the system of wind turbines, water turbines and solar panels, a system of variable-pitch ship propellers with special blade geometry is used, which serves as a water turbine during navigation. This “reversible propeller” will charge high power batteries in the lower deck. In addition, all information on board will be collected and checked on the bridge.

This includes weather data so the captain knows where the wind is best, absolutely all ship and propulsion systems, battery power, engine operation, solar panels, wind turbines, water hot, power consumption. At the same time, all energy “returns” and “expenditures” on board are monitored.

The ship will belong to a class of passenger ships that can sail indefinitely and navigate all the seas of the world, Brodosplit said. During the national tourist season, she will sail the Adriatic along the coasts of Croatia, Italy, Slovenia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece, and off-season in the Caribbean and other tourist destinations.