News and events 2008

Ferretti technology: the hybrid "Zero Emission Mode" system

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The sea has always been the natural setting for communication and contact between peoples and civilisations, a geographic and cultural bridge spanning the sometimes vast distances between their homelands. Throughout history this magnificent forum for cultural integration has encouraged the spread of mankind. But, by cruising its waters, a growing pressure was created on marine ecosystems and the coastal landscapes of the most industrialised countries, sometimes exposing them to damage and pollution.

Ferretti has always emphasised innovation and technology, and now seeks to promote a 'new yachting ethic' that attaches much greater importance to the harmonious relationship between man and nature, preserving and exploring magnificent marine landscapes and eco-systems while producing zero emissions.

For Ferretti, respect for the environment is a fundamental consideration in the development of new products. Now, thanks to years of investment in research and development, Ferretti presents the international debut of a highly innovativehybrid propulsion system. For the first time a yacht over 20 metres in length can cruise in 'Zero Emission Mode'. This marks the achievement of yet another goal by Ferretti, further evidence of the significant influence it continues to exert on the international nautical world.

A crucial role in the design and development of this innovation was played by AYT (Advanced Yacht Technology), Ferretti’s Engineering Division, created in 1989 with the aim of driving Ferretti’s constant commitment to innovation and improving the performance of the craft produced by the nine brands that make up the group. AYT worked in close collaboration with Diesel Center, a Ferretti subsidiary company and a leader in propulsion system integration, which coordinated the exclusive supply of the entire system.

Looking beyond the now well-established diesel-electric propulsion system based on a diesel engine generating power for the electric motor, AYT has developed an innovative hybrid propulsion system that offers a diesel-electric function as just one of 5 operational modes. The innovative hybrid propulsion combines the reliability of the traditional diesel, which when selected transmits power directly to the propellers, with the ability to cruise in 'Zero Emission Mode', driven by two 70 kW synchronous electric motors applied in series to the propeller shaft and engaging with the reduction gears. The motors are powered by a pack of Lithium ion batteries, the most advanced technology in this field.

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into the United States of America, Canada, Australia and Japan

While operating in “energy storing” mode, the batteries rapidly store the energy produced by the diesel while under way. The batteries can also be recharged simply by plugging them to the shore power connection. For short range coastal cruises, the yacht can, for example, leave port, cruise around and return using only the electricity drawn and stored from the terrestrial network, providing significant energy savings and much less pollution.

All this may seem simple, but the on-board technology is in fact extremely advanced, as shown, for example, by the power conversion electronics between the battery pack and the electric motors, the variable speed functions between the electric motors and the battery pack combined with the related BMS (Battery Management System), and the energy flow display on the touch screen control system.

The ZEM (Zero Emission Mode) Hybrid Propulsion system, an exclusive Ferretti patent, can operate in 5 different modes:

The diesel engines, as well as handling normal propulsion, operate the electric motors. In this way they work as generators, rapidly recharging the propulsion battery pack.

The electric motors, disengaged from the diesel, drive the propellers and are powered by the on board generators and the propulsion battery pack.

3) ZEM Propulsion:
The propellers are powered by the electric motors, disengaged from the diesel and operated exclusively by the propulsion battery pack, providing totally silent, zero emission operations.

4) ZEM Function:
All the on-board utilities are powered by the propulsion battery pack, including air conditioning, boiler and ARG, enabling totally silent, zero emission functioning of the boat.

Modes 3 and 4, for example, allow owners to enjoy the exclusive, unique experience of entering a bay, lying at anchor for several hours with full on-board functionality, then leaving, secure in the knowledge that the entire operation has been carried out in total silence and with zero emissions. In this way the yacht has no negative impact on the local environment.

During stays in port the propulsion battery pack is charged through a dedicated shore power connection.

All these modes are easily managed through a specially developed monitoring system. Touch screen selection of the various modes of propulsive energy transfer is immediate and intuitive.

This new technology, also made possible through significant international collaborations, marks a concrete step forward by the nautical industry towards greater respect for the environment, an objective that Ferretti is working towards through its constant commitment to research and development.