Twenty years after launching the pioneering CO2 reduction strategy, Azimut presents concrete results and new milestones. A course validated by the scientific community and illuminated by an ongoing commitment: implementing the best available technologies to always make a difference starting today. And from tomorrow’s innovations: the Seadeck 9 and Grande 30M.
Azimut, a leader in the design and production of yachts that symbolize the meeting of technology and beauty, inaugurates the nautical year and the 45th Cannes Yachting Festival with a press conference dedicated to the course charted to lower environmental impact by reducing CO2 emissions. The Shipyard presented to the audience the results achieved, certified by an independent scientific panel, and the new goals to be pursued with concrete actions and partners together with whom to guide the sector towards a progressive decarbonization: the Politecnico di Torino, Eni Sustainable Mobility, Lloyd’s Register and Superyacht Eco Association, a non-profit organization created by the Yacht Club de Monaco and Credit Suisse.
Milestones in the green route of the shipyard-which today already boasts the first fuel cell tested on board, the first hybrid yacht and a fleet of Low Emission Yachts emitting up to 30 percent less CO2 than comparable boats in the axle line-the new models unveiled to the conference audience as a preview: Seadeck 9 and Grande 30M.
For more than 20 years, Azimut’s approach to the issue of emissions reduction has been based on constant research and investment dedicated to developing the best available technologies to make a difference even in the short term. “We don’t just wait for the solutions of the future, we combine tomorrow-oriented research with the concrete answers of today, corroborating our research with the best scientific and certification bodies,” explains Giovanna Vitelli, Azimut|Benetti Group President.
An approach that today also involves the search for concrete alternatives to fossil fuels, an activity conducted by the Group’s R&D through scouting and testing a range of solutions that extends from biodiesel to the prospects of synthetic fuels. The desire to scientifically and objectively assess which solution could be immediately applicable and effective prompted the Shipyard to turn to the Energy Department of the Polytechnic University of Turin and Professor Massimo Santarelli, professor of Advanced Energy Systems at the Piedmont university and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.
The Turin Polytechnic’s study.
The Polytechnic, building on its experience in the automotive and aviation sectors, thus conducted an independent and extensive study on alternative fuels for the recreational marine industry.
The study analyzes HVO biodiesel, methanol, and hydrogen by comparing their efficiency, safety, availability, and cost over a short- and medium-term horizon. The results, expounded by Professor Santarelli, highlighted the advantages of biodiesel over methanol and hydrogen: green or synthetic methanol, the type effective in reducing CO2 emissions, is an option that is not feasible in the short term due to critical production and distribution issues, but may be a promising solution in a more distant time horizon.
Gray methanol, on the other hand, has a higher reported lifecycle footprint than conventional diesel fuel. Hydrogen represents a distant alternative because of the complexities in storage and safe handling on board: “Today, biodiesel is the only short-term alternative to fossil fuel, and in the present the most effective to provide a contribution to the decarbonization of the recreational boating sector,” Professor Santarelli clarifies.
HVO biodiesel, in fact, is the most mature and immediately practical solution at the moment: adoption, in fact, does not require major modifications to the storage and propulsion system. A result that has led the Group’s R&D to decide to continue experimenting with all the options that are concretely futuristic and to confirm the path outlined already twenty years ago by combining the use of diesel-electric or hybrid propulsion with the most advanced naval architecture in the category, that of Azimut’s Low Emission Yachts – carbon fiber, hulls and high-efficiency propulsion – and the best alternative fuel. The solution to lower CO2 emissions starting today.
Azimut Group|Benetti & Eni Sustainable Mobility.
The Turin Polytechnic’s study confirms the path taken by the Group in launching the first partnership of an industry company with Eni Sustainable Mobility, Eni’s company dedicated to accelerating the path to carbon neutrality in mobility. The agreement, announced in June 2023, envisages replacing the fuel used for sea trials, technical tests and transfers of prototypes and new production boats-about 700,000 litres in total in a year-with HVOlution, the biofuel from renewable raw materials* produced in the company’s biorefineries, which will allow CO2 emissions to be cut by up to 90 percent compared to the reference fossil mix, depending on the raw materials used for its production**.
Azimut|Benetti Group R&D was the first to extensively test HVOlution biofuel for use in the marine sector. In fact, Azimut, in addition to specific laboratory tests, employed HVO biofuel on the new Magellan 60, which sailed in the Mediterranean powered by HVO during a long summer. The tests conducted recorded a reduction in well-to-wake CO2 emissions of more than 80 percent compared to a comparably sized yacht powered by fossil fuel oil.
Azimut|Benetti Group together with Lloyd’s Register and SEA Index
The actions promoted by Azimut to lead the industry toward a more conscious and scientific approach to environmental sustainability find fulfillment in the latest, ambitious project announced at a press conference. After two decades of research to lower CO2 emissions, today the Shipyard finds a significant growth in the relevance of emissions as a discriminating factor in the purchase of a yacht. It is a scenario that highlights the absence of standardized and transparent communication that supports owners in collecting, reading and comparing information provided by different players in the industry, a tool already widely used in the automotive and real estate industries. From this awareness comes the Group’s collaboration with Lloyd’s Register and the Superyacht Eco Association, which through the SEA Index calculates the CO2 emissions of yachts from 25 to over 100 meters.
In September 2023, Azimut became a corporate member of SEA Index with the aim of supporting the association in defining an objective and comparable carbon emission index also for yachts under 24 meters, the most common category in our seas and in which some of the Shipyard’s iconic models, a success with the public and the market, are included.
Azimut conducted together with Lloyd’s Register, one of the leading classification bodies in the maritime industry, a plan to certify consumption-and thus CO2 emissions-under standard conditions. Lloyd’s, on the basis of tests carried out with Azimut yachts and a database integrated with the Shipyard’s readings, has developed for the Superyacht Eco Association a comparative index expressing CO2 emissions in relation to boat volume and reference speed (g CO2/GT.NM), data in the possession of all shipyards and easily detectable during a sea trial, a prerequisite for the index to become a point of reference for manufacturers, technicians and specialists in the sector.
The meeting between Azimut and SEA Index was born from complementary projects, but above all from the sharing of deep values and the desire to take the necessary actions to stimulate an evolution in the approach to reducing environmental impact. Today, with the extension of the SEA Index to yachts under 24m, the collaboration has reached its highest point: “SEA Index was born to mobilize the industry to take concrete actions to reduce CO2 emissions. Thanks to the partnership with Azimut, SEA Index can also certify yachts under 24m, with the ambition of reaching such a large number of shipowners to kick-start an unprecedented movement,” says Natalie Quévert, General Secretary of the Superyacht Eco Association.
“Less than a year ago I announced the Group’s desire to involve the boating world in the development of an objective index to compare fuel consumption and emissions. Today, thanks to the collaboration with Lloyd’s and SEA Index, that tool exists and on the Azimut boats present at Cannes the data, certified by a third party, are displayed and shared with owners and the public,” concludes Marco Valle, CEO of the Azimut|Benetti Group.
Azimut thus lays the groundwork for inaugurating a new, more conscious phase in the nautical industry’s approach to reducing environmental impact. A commitment that will be followed by concrete actions: Azimut will certify, progressively, all new boats with the aim of making consumption and emissions data available for consultation.
Among the first models involved are the Shipyard’s new ambassadors of the green route: Seadeck 9 and Grande 30M. Seadeck 9 was announced as the third model of Seadeck, the first family motoryacht Series equipped with hybrid systems and the most efficient ever made by Azimut, with up to 40 percent reduction in CO2 emissions, between sailing and anchorage stops, compared to a conventional flybridge boat of similar size. Grande 30M, unveiled in preview during the Cannes press conference, on the other hand, marks a new stage in the collaboration with ZF. In fact, this model will be the first equipped with the new POD 4900 developed by Azimut in partnership with ZF.
(Azimut in Cannes, the route to reduce CO2 emissions – barchemagazine.com – September 2023)