Eco-catamaran gets its power from renewable energy

1 min read

A catamaran powered by electricity generated by solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and diesel-electric thermal generators has been built by boat builder Drassanes Dalmau.

The Eco Slim catamaran is lighter and suffers less drag than traditional boats, and can therefore achieve the same performance using less powerful engines.

With a seating capacity of 150, a length of 24m and a width of 10.5m, the boat is intended mainly for tourism and can cruise at eight knots. While there are similar boats powered by electricity, they are intended for inland waterways and do not have the same seating capacity.

A team from the Barcelona School of Industrial Engineering and the Barcelona School of Nautical Studies at UPC-Barcelona Tech participated in the development of the catamaran.

Jordi Llorca from the Institute of Energy Technology (INTE), and Prof Ricard Bosch and Prof Víctor Fuses of the Department of Electrical Engineering, designed the propulsion system of the craft with the assistance of PhD student Oriol Gallemís.

The system itself uses two electric motors connected to multiple energy sources — a diesel generator and a set of 90 lead batteries. The batteries can be charged either by connecting to the generator or the two wind turbines and 40 solar panels installed on the deck of the boat.

All the power-generation systems are autonomously regulated by an electronic management system, which, together with the navigation instruments, are powered by a lead battery and 2kW hydrogen battery.

With the propulsion system, the catamaran can sail continuously for four hours at six or seven knots. The motor and batteries can be recharged in an hour and a half.

In addition, the team from UPC-Barcelona Tech designed the electronic management system software for the boat, which an operator can access from one of two screens installed in the boat’s control panel.

Drassanes Dalmau constructed the Eco Slim hull with help from Isonaval. It is claimed to be the first hull to be built in Spain using a vacuum infusion system. The port and starboard were made separately and then joined together, similar to the process used in the manufacture of car bodywork.

This has reduced its weight by 50 per cent compared with conventional models. In addition, thanks to the hydrodynamic lines of the boat, its hydrodynamic resistance has been reduced by 20 per cent.