Hydrogen, Solar and Wind-Powered Hybrid Vessel Points to the Future of Superyacht Propulsion

A first-of-its-kind Hydrogen, Solar and Wind-Powered Hybrid Vessel cruised into New York Harbour and her arrival shows perhaps the way forward for powering superyachts in the future.

After nearly two years of construction and the work of more than 300 individuals, the 50 metre yacht-like Hornblower Hybrid, Americas first vessel powered by diesel, hydrogen, batteries, wind and solar energy, arrived recently in New York Harbour.

She will service New York City upon completion of United States Coast Guard sea trials and certifications.

The innovative vessel reduces emissions, uses minimal diesel, and features several recycled and reclaimed materials, LEED-certified carpet and energy-efficient LED lighting.

Next year, the Hybrid will run harbour cruises with close-up views of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

In 2009, Hornblower purchased a former oceangoing casino and began a comprehensive deconstruction and retrofit project at Derecktor Shipyard that transformed it into the nation’s first vessel powered by diesel, hydrogen, batteries, wind and solar energy.

The 600-passenger yacht cuts fossil fuel use and lowers emissions by combining clean power from multiple sources.

A flexible, innovative power management system ensures efficient use of available power – automatically switching from diesel to batteries when appropriate, for example – with reclaimed and recycled materials incorporated throughout the vessel.

The yacht runs on renewable power generated by hydrogen fuel cells, solar panels and wind turbines.

Most comes from a 32-kilowatt proton exchange membrane fuel cell that turns hydrogen into electricity, heat and distilled water; the electricity then runs an electric motor and charges 192 batteries.

In addition, 20-kilowatt solar panels and two 5-kilowatt wind turbines propel and power the vessel. Efficient Tier 2 diesel engines also kick in to cover additional needs.

Opportunity charging, plugging the vessel into shore power, provides for battery charging and offsetting other power sources while at the dock.
  • Capacity: 600 passengers
  • Length: 168 feet
  • Width: 40 feet
  • Draft: 6’2” feet
  • Height from water: 36’ feet (without turbines)
  • Hull design: Monohull
  • Total horsepower: 1,400 (generated by two 700-horsepower shafts)
  • Fuel cell: 32-kilowatt proton exchange membrane fuel cell by Hydrogenics
  • Batteries: 192 AGM batteries by Odyssey
  • Wind turbines: Two Helix Wind 5-kilowatt normal output wind turbines
  • Solar array: 20-kilowatt SunPower Corporation solar panels
  • Diesel Power Generation: 2 x Scania Tier 2 diesels power s Baldor Reliance 700HP variable speed generators
  • Propulsion System: Two of Hornblower’s power electronics control Baldor Reliance 700HP induction motors
  • Operating speed: Vessel achieves hull speed of 12 knots (typical cruising speed of 6-7 knots)
  • Shipyard: Derecktor Shipyards in Bridgeport, Conn.