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Fipol Marine - Green voyages in the deep blue

News International-French

18 Feb 2013

Hybrid engines driven by a combination of electrical power and a gasoline motor have already started to replace fossil-derived fuel technology in motor boats, just like in automobiles. This new technology is sure to replace conventional technology more aggressively in the near future, considering the fact that it protects nature, has lower operating costs and operates silently.

Fipol Marine is contributing to the environmental awareness movement by using hybrid engine technology in combination with its composite experience on its Larus lobster yachts. It started R&D studies for the new project approximately one year ago.

Nowadays, unfortunately, the natural resources essential for life, such as the oceans, air and fresh water, are fast being polluted and the blue seas are taking on a grey tinge. In the belief that they are now in a position to take a leap forward, Fipol Marine is targeting greener technology for their new composite models.

Sustainability approach
Basically, hybrid systems use electric and diesel engines at the same time. The hybrid system that was designed especially for the Larus yachts will provide an environment-friendly and cost-saving solution that also delivers comfortable and silent cruising performance. A further advantage lies in the use of solar panels.

The new Larus will be generating electric energy from lithium batteries, which are ideal energy storage systems with a long service life (approximately 10 years), maintenance-free structure and high energy intensity. This allows storing a lot of electric energy in relatively little space. The lithium batteries can be charged in a very short time in several ways: an onshore power source, solar power or, of course, the power generated by the yacht’s diesel engines.

Two engines with parallel hybrid configuration will be used for the Larus’ driving systems. The new design features four engines (two electric engines + two diesel engines) and twice the substitute driving power of conventional systems in case of mechanical or electrical failure during cruising. Two parallel hybrid engines will be available in the engine rooms, featuring the same dimensions as the current engines. The engines can be mounted on the new Larus just like in the current system. The electrical configuration will enable high-current charging of the lithium batteries in very short times, using the diesel engines during cruising, onshore power when moored in a port, or solar energy both on- and offshore.

The system is designed principally to use the electric engine at low speeds and the diesel engine at high speeds. Consequently, owners will be able to cruise silently with zero carbon dioxide emission at lower speeds, minimizing environmental and noise pollution. Using the solar panels and high-performance lithium energy storage system will contribute even more to cruising that is both enjoyable and which spares the environment.

The main purpose of the design was to match the performance of the new Larus boat to that of conventional ones. For this reason, it was decided to use parallel hybrid driving system technology. The hybrid configuration will enable the boat to cruise at higher speeds using only the diesel engines.

Conventional boats use the diesel engines at lower speeds and with lower efficiency, so they consume more fuel. The special diesel engines on the Larus are more efficient, so they minimize fuel consumption. Also, the ability to use the electric motor in place of the diesel engine increases the efficiency even more. All this means that the new version of the Larus will need less maintenance compared to conventional boats. In addition to its high performance, the yacht is expected to provide a 30% fuel saving compared to conventional models, while generating only half as much pollution.

The R&D studies are still in progress, and Fipol Marine plans to offer a variety of interior design options for the model layouts. The model will be introduced to the market as a prototype, before hitting the serial production line at the end of 2013.

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