In the last couple of years, Venice has fallen victim to severe flooding. In November 2019, a record-breaking acqua alta of 1.87m reportedly flooded over 85% of the city, causing millions of euros worth of damage and, tragically, two deaths.
The impact of rising sea levels, further to climate change is a global worry. But for Venice, the impact is already visible, and catastrophic to the foundations of this fragile, historic city. Venice’s renowned transport system, which relies heavily on its waterways, needs to be handled with more sensitivity than ever before. While it remains an integral part of any itinerary to the region, those visiting The Floating City on various methods of transport need to consider the ways in which they can adapt their vessels to leave as little damage as possible in their wake.
In response to the required adaptation of Venice-bound vessels, Nuvolari Lenard has revealed its own solution. Alongside its superyacht projects, the Venice-based studio has been building up a substantial portfolio of custom tender projects that require similar levels of technology and practical innovation.
“As Venetians, Dan [Lenard] and I feel a strong connection with the city and have experienced first-hand the damage that is being caused to its delicate structures, through air and noise pollution as well as physical erosion” - Carlo Nuvolari, naval architect and Senior Partner - Nuvolari Lenard
“As Venetians, Dan [Lenard] and I feel a strong connection with the city and have experienced first-hand the damage that is being caused to its delicate structures, through air and noise pollution as well as physical erosion,” began Carlo Nuvolari, naval architect and Senior Partner at Nuvolari Lenard. “We felt that it was crucial to address the problems facing our beautiful hometown, and that Nuvolari Lenard was well placed to lead the charge in finding a solution, through a unique project dedicated to helping Venice."
Further to this, Nuvolari Lenard has unveiled the hybrid luxury watercraft, ‘Thunder’, in an attempt to solve Venice’s pollution problem. “First and foremost, we always keep in mind that a tender is a working boat,” Nuvolari continued. “Technically, there is a completely different set of challenges in designing the two categories of watercraft [superyacht/tender]."
“This progressive model for transportation in the city will hopefully change the mindset of the historically conservative taxi drivers” - Carlo Nuvolari, naval architect and Senior Partner - Nuvolari Lenard
The first edition of the 14-seat luxury water taxi has been built at Cantieri Vizianelloin Venice. “This progressive model for transportation in the city will hopefully change the mindset of the historically conservative taxi drivers,” commented Nuvolari.
It is understandable that short battery life is the current concern for many hybrid propulsion systems, but Nuvolari Lenard’s knowledge of the city prompts less cause for concern. “In Venice, the water taxis make regular trips to the airport in open water where they travel at speeds of up to 30 knots using diesel, which gives the batteries time to recharge for when the vessel returns to the low-speed confines of the city’s waterways, at which point it will only draw on the stored electric power,” explained Nuvolari.
The tender has been designed using traditional wooden materials to align with the aesthetics of the traditional water taxis in Venice. Nuvolari Lenard has reportedly already received a request for the 9.2-metre vessel to be used as a limousine tender for a superyacht client, which illustrates the comfort and quality of the new tender.
“For another prototype experimental project, we are currently in discussions with Hyundai about the potential for using a hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system, which is a very clean technology, as the only by-product is water,” Nuvolari continued. “Current limitations on the storage of hydrogen on vehicles mean that the horizon for this kind of innovation is a few years away, as it could not be certified or sold on the market. More round-table discussions with Hyundai and other companies are set for this coming June, and we look forward to taking the project further with our various partners.”
At The Superyacht Design Forum (12 – 14 May 2020), further to feedback from various top-tier superyacht designers, one of the crucial conversations to take place will be what alternative solutions are available to the industry, from materials to power sources such as the propulsion system discussed above, in order to make known the possibilities for future superyacht designs. Register your interest here.
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