Earlier this year Sauter Carbon Offset Design unveiled its Super Nova 60 megayacht – a design which harnesses energy from a variety of sustainable sources including solar, wind and waves to produce "the world’s first carbon neutral megayacht." Now the company has gone one step further with plans for its Ocean Empire Life Support Vessel (LSV). This 144-foot Catamaran design adds hydroponic farming to its array of sustainable technologies making it, according to the designers, the world’s first totally self-sufficient zero carbon LSV ... meaning it could theoretically stay at sea indefinitely.

The Ocean Empire LSV is a 44 m (144 ft) long Superyacht Catamaran that achieves its total self sufficiency thanks to two hydroponic farms measuring a total of 30 m2 (323 ft2), fishing facilities to harvest the ocean’s bounty, and by harnessing energy from a variety of sustainable sources.

The first and foremost sustainable energy source is the Sun, which lights the two hydroponic farms and is also harnessed via a 400 m2 (4,305 ft2) 70 kW SunPower solar array. To capture wind power, an auxiliary 80 m2 (861 ft2) 200 kW automated skysail is used that can drive the Ocean Empire to over 18 knots and is also used to charge the vessel’s GM ESS2 battery systems.

Lastly, Motion Damping Regeneration (MDR) technology is used to capture energy from the waves. The company says the MDR system is basically an adjustable tuned mass dampener (ATMD) like those used in skyscrapers, such as Taipei 101, to reduce their swaying motion. In the case of the Ocean Empire, the yacht’s 16 tons of batteries are the mass, while linear generators produce up to 50 kWs of electricity as they dampen the motion of the vessel.

The Ocean Empire LSV also packs a Daimler Turbo Compound DD16 BlueTec diesel electric engine capable of producing 350 kW.

“The Ocean Empire LSV leads the way in freeing the Superyacht community from its strict dependence on unsustainable resources by being the first to harness the renewable collective resources ever present in the Earths Biosphere,” says Richard Sauter, head of design at Sauter Carbon Offset Design.

The company says the Ocean Empire uses existing OEM products meaning it will cost little more than conventional superyachts, while providing a range of operation ranging from carbon neutral to zero carbon cruising. Additionally, when the vessel is plugged into shore power it is capable of feeding 360 MW-h of electricity into the grid. Sauter Design says this is enough to make up to 12,000 nautical miles of carbon neutral voyages every year.

So how much for this ocean going independence and environmentally-friendly peace of mind? Sauter says prices for the Ocean Empire LSV, which is designed as a charter vessel that can house 10 guests in addition to eight crew, start at around US$17 million.

Sauter Carbon Offset Design will build the vessel to order with delivery taking around 18 months.

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