Washington-based Strategic Composites, a specialist in the hand lay-up of composites, is building a boat made entirely with carbon nanotube (CNT) enhanced pre-impregnated composite fibres, or prepreg, from Ohio-based Zyvex Performance Materials.
The boat, designated 540SE (super-efficient), is intended as a technology demonstrator to show what future boats are capable of when built with nano-enhanced materials such as Arovex prepreg.
Using Arovex, the 16m boat will weigh less than 3,630kg, fully equipped.
This is approximately 75 per cent less than fibreglass boats of the same size, and 33 per cent less than conventional carbon fibre boats.
The weight reduction will allow the boat to require 75 per cent less horsepower, considerably reduce emissions, and extend its range.
The boat will be powered by a pair of small diesel engines, typically found on boats under 12m in length.
These engines will still be able to propel the hull to top speeds of over 80km/h.
Offshore-capable, and with a range of over 1,600km, the boat will also feature a glass cockpit similar to those found in modern aircraft.
'This nano-enhanced material will allow us to create the boats of the future,' said Strategic Composites president Ron Jones.
'By being able to greatly decrease the weight of the structure, the engine and fuel requirements are reduced as well.
'This boat will be able to do things that other boats can’t.
'It could be carried and airdropped by cargo aircraft, for rescue, deployment, or intercept missions.'
While designed with defence and security missions in mind, the technology demonstrator will be a conventional civilian/recreational boat.
A recreational version using the same hull and materials is also planned, and should be available in early 2010 through Synergy Yachts.