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  • 2022 September 7 10:19

    Rolls-Royce and Sanlorenzo team up for methanol propulsion in luxury yachts

    Rolls-Royce and Italian yacht builder Sanlorenzo plan to develop and build a large motor yacht with a methanol engine propulsion system able to run carbon-neutrally on 'green' methanol, according to the company's release. The two companies announced an exclusive memorandum of understanding to this effect for yachts between 40 and 70 meters on the eve of the opening of the 2022 Cannes Yachting Festival. Powered by two mtu methanol engines based on the Series 4000, the Sanlorenzo yacht is expected to undertake her maiden voyage in 2026.

    Green methanol is climate-friendly and carbon-neutral because it is produced using solar or wind power: The first stage is to take hydrogen and synthesize it into methanol (CH3HO) using carbon and oxygen from the air. Carbon in the form of CO2 is released into the air during combustion – but no more than was taken from it during production of the fuel. As a result, the cycle is carbon-neutral.

    The plan is to build a large Sanlorenzo luxury yacht tailored to the new type of propulsion system and its requirements. The two partners regard the additional effort as challenging but feasible: because methanol's energy density is around 50% below that of diesel, the fuel tanks need to be about twice as big to give the vessel the same range as with diesel propulsion. Safety requirements happen to be potentially lower than with other fuels and technologies – because methanol is non-toxic.

    In parallel with the Cannes Yacht Festival, Rolls-Royce will be presenting new mtu marine propulsion, automation and service solutions – including methanol engines and fuel cell systems – under the slogan 'Pioneering the journey to net zero' at SMM, the international maritime industry trade show, in Hamburg, Germany, from 6 to 9 September 2022.




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