Ghost Yachts made quite an impression on the marketplace when it unveiled its first project in December 2009, the Ghost Yachts G180. The goal was to create a megayacht that would meet market demands for guest and crew accommodations while simultaneously be more advanced in efficiency and environmental friendliness. Ghost Yachts expects to make an even bigger impression with its newest project, the G180H, with “H” standing for “hybrid.”
Based on the same Fast Displacement Hull Form (FDHF) as that of the G180, the G180H will share other similarities with her predecessor. She’ll measure 55 meters, or 180 feet, and have accommodations for 12 guests and 12 crewmembers (plus the captain). As before, the FDHF is from the naval-architecture firm Van Oossanen & Associates, while the interior is by Gloss Design.
While other eco-friendly proposals are being shopped around, the G180H is the first to my knowledge that will rely on proven hybrid technology. She’s also the first hybrid superyacht proposal in terms of yachts measuring 50 meters or more and exceeding the 500-gross-tons limit. (The gross tonnage is expected to be approximately 670.) “It’s a full hybrid that adjust the power demand to a specific situation,” Ghost Yachts’ founder and managing director Björn Moonen says, in an interview exclusive to Megayacht News, adding that seven modes are available. In what he calls “whisper speed mode,” for example, the G180H will rely solely on battery power, ideal for in-port maneuvering. In cruising mode, the yacht will operate on hybrid power, while at anchor she can rely on either batteries or hybrid power, with the latter recharging her batteries. Dynamic positioning can also draw power from either the battery bank alone or hybrid mode, depending on water conditions. Regardless, Moonen says, “The G180H is also capable of running the entire hotel load through the night, which results in an extremely silent yacht.”
So what exactly is the composition of the power and propulsion system? It includes four 500-kW Volvo Penta D16 MG gensets, a battery bank of Valance U27-12XP battieries, two 750-kW Voith Turbo inline propulsors, and a retractable 200-kW Voith Turbo inline thruster. (On a side note, Voith’s inline propulsors, also known as inline thrusters, are used on commercial vessels, patrol boats, and yachts alike. They combine an electric synchronous ring motor and a propeller, without the need for a shaft or gearbox.) Imtech is also supplying a variable-frequency-drive control system, which will help save energy as well by matching the power supply to the demand.
Comparison tests reveal that the hybrid system should result in good fuel savings. In relation to similar-sized and similar-displacement yachts, the G180H should burn 30 percent less on average. The hotel-load consumption alone should be cut in half. Even with the savings, the performance should be akin to that of other yachts: a 15.5-knot cruise speed.
Interesting enough, Moonen says that he was initially reluctant to pursue hybrid propulsion, despite its advantages. A major concern was the amount of space the related equipment needs to occupy. In consultation with Imtech Marine, however, he and the naval architecture team realized fewer concessions would need to be made. The hull design was one reason, as was the equipment chosen, like the Voith units. Ghost Yachts further decided to split the technical space into two levels, with the batteries and related silent equipment on one and the gensets on the other. Take a look at the closeup illustration above, and you’ll see how the gensets are below the batteries. They’re housed in what’s essentially a separate engine room.
The hybrid system isn’t the only energy-saving technique that the G180H employs. She’ll rely on fresh air more than HVAC. The main saloon and dining area will have four sliding doors, covering an area of about 16 square meters (about 172 square feet) of wall. “It will really feel like you open the space, especially in combination with the sliding doors aft,” Moonen says. Opening balconies in the owner’s suite will serve the same purpose. In addition, “The center staircase goes all the way to the sundeck and creates a natural chimney effect. We looked at the flows and support it with fans at strategic points. We can choose whether an area is ventilated by fresh air, cooled air, or a combination of both to reach the required room temperature.”
Related to the reduction in HVAC is a ceramic film for the windows. Moonen reports that it blocks about 80 percent of the sun’s heat, yet it’s clear in appearance. He adds that it’s available in a variety of tones, so the windows can be darker if a client so wishes.
Speaking of clients, that’s the only part of the equation missing. Once built, by Jongert Shipyard, the G180H will be classed to Lloyds 100A1 SSC Mono G6 Yacht(P) + LMC UMS and meet MCA regulations.