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Bill Gates splashes out £500m on a hydrogen-powered super yacht

Posted by Caribbean World Magazine on 17 January 2020 | 0 Comments

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17 January 2020
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Software tycoon Bill Gates plans to add a £500m eco vessel to his array of executive playthings in 2024.In a show of his growing commitment to ecological sustainability, the Microsoft co-founder put his money behind a vessel that is powered by alternativefuels. As the world’s first hydrogen-powered superyacht, the vessel embraces new clean technology in an effort to cut carbon emissions. Retired 64-year-old Gates has commissioned the construction of a cutting-edge design by Dutch superyacht specialist Feadship, based on blueprints for the 112-metre “Aqua” unveiled at 2019’s Monaco Yacht Show. Marine architects keen to attract environmentally sensitive billionaires have been increasingly turning to ambitious forward-thinking low-carbon designs. Though Bill Gates enjoys superyacht holidays with his wife Melinda, the world’s second-richest man has not previously owned his own vessel. The eco-friendly luxury superyacht will be powered by liquid hydrogen that will let it travel nearly 4,000 miles before it needs to refuel.  The vessel will store hydrogen at minus 423F in two 28-ton tanks, meaning its only emission is water. Other features of the futuristic design includes luxurious accommodation for 14 guests, 31 crew members, a gym, yoga studio and massage parlour, and an infinity pool with atmospheric cascadeson an expansive rear deck. According to the Dutch designer, the exterior of the vessel is inspired by ocean swells, the movement of the tides, and weather out on open water. There are two over-sized entertaining areas: a lower lounge for sunbathing or swimming and an upper space with room for outdoor dining. Gel-fueled fire bowls allow guests to stay warm on colder evenings without having to burn wood or coals. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows lead through to a downstairs entertaining space with a home cinema. At the centre of the superyacht, a show stopping staircase spirals around a water feature - a stunning piece of centerpiece art.  The plans were unveiled at purely concept stage, Gates made a bold decision to commission its construction is a milestone in superyachts - and their future. 

Liquid Hydrogen Power - How Does it Work? 

 

     Liquid hydrogen is pumped through special PEM fuel cells which convert it into electricity which runs the engines and electronics on board.

     The supply of hydrogen is moderated using two fuel cells to make sure it stays constant. Each vacuum-sealed storage tank weighs 28 tons and cooled to -423F (-253C).

     Hydrogen fuel cells create electricity to power a battery and motor by mixing hydrogen and oxygen in specially treated plates

     Fuel cell stacks and batteries have allowed engineers to significantly shrink these components to even fit neatly inside a family car

     Oxygen is collected from the air through intakes, usually in the grille, and hydrogen is stored in aluminium-lined fuel tanks

     The only emission from the system is water, which can be safely pumped into the ocean.  

     Despite its novel fuel source, the vessel is able to reach 17 knots

     It has carries enough hydrogen to travel 3,750 miles before refuelling, enough for an Atlantic crossing from Southampton to New York.

     There will be a backup diesel engine due to the scarcity of Hydrogen refuelling points.

     Gates is already believed to be an investor in Heliogen, a start-up that uses software to focus on the sun's rays to generate extreme heat.

     Gates has long argued that investing in new energy systems is a better way to get companies to cut carbon emissions.

     Liquid hydrogen releases usable electricity and water as byproducts, making it one of the quietest and most environmentally friendly available.

     Recent research has suggested hydrogen fuel cell cars could one day challenge electric cars in the race for pollution-free roads, - but only if more stations are built to fuel them.

     Gates’ new vessel is not expected to be ready to take to the open seas until 2024.

     Liquid hydrogen is pumped through special PEM fuel cells which convert it into electricity which runs the engines and electronics on board.

     The supply of hydrogen is moderated using two fuel cells to make sure it stays constant. Each vacuum-sealed storage tank weighs 28 tons and cooled to -423F (-253C).

     Hydrogen fuel cells create electricity to power a battery and motor by mixing hydrogen and oxygen in specially treated plates

     Fuel cell stacks and batteries have allowed engineers to significantly shrink these components to even fit neatly inside a family car

     Oxygen is collected from the air through intakes, usually in the grille, and hydrogen is stored in aluminium-lined fuel tanks

     The only emission from the system is water, which can be safely pumped into the ocean. 

 

     Despite its novel fuel source, the vessel is able to reach 17 knots

     It has carries enough hydrogen to travel 3,750 miles before refuelling, enough for an Atlantic crossing from Southampton to New York.

     There will be a backup diesel engine due to the scarcity of Hydrogen refuelling points.

     Gates is already believed to be an investor in Heliogen, a start-up that uses software to focus on the sun's rays to generate extreme heat.

     Gates has long argued that investing in new energy systems is a better way to get companies to cut carbon emissions.

     Liquid hydrogen releases usable electricity and water as byproducts, making it one of the quietest and most environmentally friendly available.

     Recent research has suggested hydrogen fuel cell cars could one day challenge electric cars in the race for pollution-free roads, - but only if more stations are built to fuel them.

     Gates’ new vessel is not expected to be ready to take to the open seas until 2024. 

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