Hybrid or fully green propulsion, more focus on sustainability and a reduced carbon footprint during the construction stage, and fresh approaches to reduce the carbon footprint of the vessel during operation are some of the ideas that shipyards are exploring to create the superyacht of tomorrow. That same superyacht has to be just as luxurious and beautiful as any one of its current polluting counterparts, with no room left for negotiating.
Feadship proves that it can be done with the Dunes concept. Teased earlier this year and unveiled officially at the 2023 Monaco Yacht Show, Dunes is a 272-foot (83-meter) superyacht that takes inspiration from nature for its design – and draws the energy needed for propulsion from it, as well. It's a spectacular, breathtaking, absolutely gorgeous vessel whose asymmetric design was inspired by the ever-changing sand dunes – the most unexpected association we ever saw, but it works.
That sounds like a huge challenge, and it's one Feadship gladly set up for itself to prove that it could be done – and hopefully trace the next possible steps other industry players might consider. Dunes is the 12th concept from the yard and plays on the strengths of its predecessors to set a new bar in terms of industry expectations.
It's more than just a pretty boat on paper, though. Feadship says extensive YETI tooling has demonstrated that Dunes would eliminate up to 95% of the potential negative environmental factors usually associated with operating a superyacht when compared to a yacht meeting the current minimum environmental regulations. And it would do so while still offering a custom environment to the discerning owner.
Dynafin would draw power from solid oxide fuel cells using green methanol as a reaction agent to create hydrogen.
Solar paint would cover the entire foredeck of the superyacht, and it's just one of the ways in which Feadship plans to replace teak. In this case, it would add extra charge to the batteries; the yard concedes it would be a "drop in the ocean" comparatively, but it would still be a plus.
Full-height windows are all shaded by overhangs, which will help reduce reliance on HVAC, while other innovations will allow for the air to flow naturally through the different decks, creating different temperature zones. For example, a 10-meter (32.8-foot) mast borrowed from Studio De Voogt's Cool Core Concept allows for cool air to go up through the decks without ducts and fans, keeping sleeping quarters cool and social areas a bit warmer.
Despite featuring expansive glazing, Dunes would have a higher efficiency in keeping interiors cool in the glare of the sun and toasty in colder weather.
Accommodation would be for 12 guests across six staterooms, all grouped closer together than they would be on a conventional superyacht that features the engine room across two decks in the middle of the hull. The owner's suite would still sit on its own private deck because some things are better off as they are.
Feadship doesn't mention any concrete plans to make Dunes real, though it's clear that they're hoping some of the features on it would live on in other, actual builds. For the time being, the yard is working on shifting to "low impact" steel and aluminum for the hull and superstructure of their build, as they make up more than 50% of the CO2 impact of a project.
To paraphrase the Dunes presentation: a drop in the ocean, but every drop counts.