Are innovations like eco solutions, hybrid concepts or advanced materials progressing quickly enough to significantly affect the current superyacht design market? Harley O’Neill, director of SuperyachtME, believes we are on the edge of a tech boom.


Looking at advanced shipbuilding material opportunities, at SuperyachtME we’re seeing a few interesting new technologies and theories hitting the R&D desk, including advanced noise control materials, permanent magnetic power rings and cascade batteries on induction pads.

Working closely with acoustical engineering consulting firm Noise Control Engineering, it has become obvious that the search is still on to discover the holy grail of acoustic materials for use on marine vessels. We’re looking for a multi-dimensional acoustic material that provides high absorption, high airborne transmission loss, significant damping, and which also reduces radiation and vibration response of the structure to airborne noise. It has to be applied to structural surfaces such as bulkheads and deck heads, so the manufacturer also needs to make sure the product doubles as a thermal/fire insulation and anti-sweat treatment, while maintaining all IMO regulations required for internal hull applications. Once developed, acoustic performance parameters could then be utilised in a unique 3D acoustic prediction modelling software like that of Noise Control Engineering’s Designer-NOISE.

In the realm of reducing weight, increasing space and production rates, there’s a group called EcoMarine Propulsion Systems Corp. EcoMarine has compiled years of experience in an effort to help navigate a change in the design direction of a vessels’ power generation systems. EcoMarine’s PowerRing and TeraTorq create vessel-specific designs for the most compact and power-dense permanent magnet motors and generators available in the world today. Reversible direct drives to eliminate reduction gears, variable speed machines, liquid-cooled power conversions, and 200kW modules that can be interchangeable throughout the vessel are just a few innovations being implemented into their new designs.

The removal of all cables and wire trays would take us into a new universe in superyacht design. Battery cascades on large induction pads with the internal bulkheads and hull finishing panels designed as structure-supported circuit boards for shipboard computer communication are other theoretical concepts we’re looking into.

If we are to make leaps and bounds in technology and design, we must first understand where we are and to be bold in our thinking to push the boundaries of both disciplines.

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