Hybrid diesel-electric boats such as the Greenline 40 have been around for nearly a decade in commercial terms, but in avoiding fossil fuel use, they rely on batteries, which produce short-lived performance and add huge weight to the hull, writes Rob Melotti. So where does the marine alternative power scene go from here?
The answer, perhaps, comes from Switzerland. The CODE X yacht is the brainchild of CODE X AG from Meggen, in conjunction with technical partners FB Design, founded by legendary Italian powerboat racer Fabio Buzzi.
The CODE-X website describes its renewable technology as "a harmonious combination of conventional and environmentally friendly propulsion fuels."
The core element of the CODE X yacht is the Silicon Fire drive and a new totally green methanol-type fuel.
Silicon Fire is the fuel derived from a highly technical chemical process that generates hydrogen from silicon. In a further process, the Silicon Fire technology combines this hydrogen with carbon dioxide, which is obtained as a waste product from conventional combustion processes. The result is a renewable liquid which is comparable to regenerative methanol in terms of substance and mode of action.
The Silicon Fire drive is available in two different versions. Firstly, Silicon Fire can be added to conventional fuel, reducing CO2 emissions depending on the admix ratio of Silicon Fire to conventional fuel. But Silicon Fire drives can be integrated in yachts which use pure Silicon Fire fuel. In this case, the Silicon Fire drive is completely CO2-neutral.
The CODE X yacht features a propulsion system, which allows the adding of Silicon Fire to conventional fuels in order to reduce CO2 emissions. Alternatively, CODE X yachts can also be ordered which have a Silicon Fire drive running with only Silicon Fire.
The introduced CODE X yacht features two Ilmor marine combustion engines with a total of 1420 HP, which are combined with two ZF TRIMAX propeller drive propulsion systems. This technology accelerates the CODE X yacht up to a maximum speed of approximately 80 knots. Additionally, the CODE X yacht comes with an integrated solar system. Due to the newly designed Silicon Fire drive, the integrated solar system on board is applied selectively as a power supply source for on-board systems in order to, for example, not need to consume Silicon Fire for the operation of any ancillary components while at anchor.
Code X Engine Specifications
2 x Ilmor marine combustion engines MV10-710
Configuration : 90 degree V 10
Horsepower : 2 x 710 HP
Torque : 882 Nm @ 4800 rpm
Full throttle rpm range: 5400 - 6300
Capacity: 2 x 8.3 liters
Performance: 90 knots
2 x electric engines
Source of Energy:
Fossil fuel (2 tanks) and silicon-fire Methanol
For more unusual powerboating developments/experiments, try Alex Smith's take on the £700m Streets of Monaco or perhaps Mad Mariners: Four Unbelievable Seafaring Exploits.