Waterecho, the Fuel-Cell Solution to Eco-Minded Megayachts

Italy-based VSY strives to incorporate as many “green” systems and practices aboard its superyachts as possible. For instance, it uses technology similar to Dynamic Positioning to let its customers anchor without ever dropping anchor. In addition, it uses recyclable materials, and encourages customers to do the same for decor items. In offering the Espen Øino-designed Waterecho, VSY is going green once again. The environmentally minded megayacht will use hydrogen fuel-cell technology. What’s more, VSY is developing the technology with two leading names in the sector.

In developing the 213-foot (65-meter) Waterecho, VSY and Espen Øino had two objectives. Of course, owner and guest comfort count as one must-have. Waterecho emphasizes voluminous, versatile relaxation areas. In fact, the owners’ suite spans two levels, rising more than 13 feet (4 meters) high. With part situated forward on the main deck, it also has a private alfresco area. For all guests, the saloon encompasses 1,076 square feet (100 square meters). Floor-to-ceiling glass promises “seamless” views, VSY says. Furthermore, some sections slide open so that guests can step out onto the side decks, to enjoy the views all the more.

For alfresco-oriented fun, Waterecho has two pools. Similar to other superyachts, the larger of the two sits aft on the main deck. For more privacy, though, the second one awaits on the uppermost deck. It’s adjacent to the gym. Of course, Waterecho additionally has a beach club.

VSY Waterecho Espen Oeino superyacht

However, because of VSY’s desire to drive more sustainability in yachting, the environmental objective is equally, if not more, important. VSY just signed an agreement with Lloyd’s Register and Siemens to develop fuel-cell technology for Waterecho. The shipyard is studying the technical feasibility, as well as the cost factors. Since Lloyd’s classifies yachts, it’s outlining the requirements for certification.

Siemens’ role is perhaps most interesting. It’s applying technical know-how from fuel cells already in use on passenger ships and ferries, as well as research it’s done for yachting applications. Fuel cells develop electricity from hydrogen and oxygen. Siemens developed a proven system called Siship BlueDrive, based on DC technology, that works with fuel cells. In that regard, Siemens is collaborating with a Swedish firm to drive fuel-cell technology even farther. Siship BlueDrive is scalable, too, making it suited to superyachts. So, Siemens and VSY are confident that a similar battery system, combined with fuel cells, can work.

If the research proves this, then Waterecho will be incredibly green and clean. The exhaust from fuel cells is just water.

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