- Technology - Superyacht UK Technical Seminar 2023

By SuperyachtNews

Superyacht UK Technical Seminar 2023

Over 85 delegates from across the superyacht sector gathered at St Katharine Docks on April 18 for a wide-ranging series of discussions…

Sponsored by Pendennis Shipyard Ltd, Superyacht UK Technical Seminar showcased groundbreaking innovations and addressed key challenges facing the industry. The agenda covered various topics, from regulatory changes and sustainability to lithium-ion battery risks and alternative fuels.

Stephen Hills, The Chairman of Superyacht UK (SYUK), opened the proceedings with a summary of projects in Falmouth, as well as the capabilities of the Pendennis Vilanova facility, ahead of the storied shipyard group's 35th anniversary.  

The first seminar began with Phil Noad from the Cayman Island Shipping Register leading the session and discussion of the latest amendments to the revised Red Ensign Group's Large Yacht Code, followed by an overview of new qualifications for the UK's superyacht design industry, including Solent University's master's degree program. 

Ivo Veldhuis, Technical Manager at Mayfair Marine, explored alternative fuel-hybrid electric battery propulsion systems for high-speed catamarans, highlighting the feasibility of net-zero solutions, the genesis of which was covered exclusively on SuperyachtNews in 2021.

Vittorio Boccoloni, Senior Lecturer Yacht Engineering at Solent University, compared alternative fuels, including hydrogen and synthetic fuels, and their potential for reducing emissions in the superyacht industry. Boccoloni's study concluded that hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) is currently the best option for CO2 emission reductions on a 68-meter yacht, with the additional conclusion that, in the short to medium term hybrid diesel solutions would remain the only viable option. 

Martin Jackson, Sales Manager at PME Power Systems Group, provided an overview of MAN engine developments, emphasizing compact Tier III compliant designs that meet emission regulations while minimizing the impact on vessel design. Fabio Fantozzi, Regulatory Approach Lead at the Marine Coastguard Agency (MCA), discussed regulatory challenges and alternative certification pathways for alternative fuels and energy sources.

Ollie Taylor, Associate Director at Anthesis Group, presented on the MarineShift360 Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) sustainability tool, urging delegates to set net-zero targets for their businesses. Jeff Houlgrave, Senior Associate at Marina Projects, let a fascinating discussion into the growth of marina networks in the Red Sea and the middle east, and the unique challenges presented by the region.  

The seminar concluded with a keynote panel discussion, chaired by Francesca Conn, Counsel at Hill Dickinson, on the hidden risks associated with the increased use of lithium-ion batteries. A volatile subject across the industry in recent years, Mike Wimbridge of Pantaenius provided some context by highlighting the fact that the number of fires directly linked to Li batteries was actually very small, as opposed to the amount of speculation. 

The majority of the risk, the panel explained, comes from additional toys and gadgets bought on board during the vessel’s operational life, which must be minimised through sensible management systems and training.

The wide-ranging discussion exposed some of the gaps in the wider industry understanding of the subject and the complex interaction between technology and safety regulations. Phil Noad concluded that "owners may only realise that they don’t have a sprinkler on a sub 500GT vessel when they are in their tender watching the boat burn.” 

"The seminar emphasises items we already know as well as addressing the new fields which are complex and difficult, where some people may not know which way to go,  concluded Ben Geary of Dohle Yachts. "It’s been very interesting and it’s nice to catch up with people and see what’s going on.”

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