Azimut Reveals Partnerships to Help Reduce Emissions

Azimut’s Magellano 60 can use HVOlution biofuel
Azimut’s Magellano 60 can use HVOlution biofuel. Photo: Azimut

Azimut staged a press conference at the Cannes Yachting Festival focused on its efforts to reduce environmental impact by lowering CO2 emissions.

The shipyard presented the results of its efforts, certified by an independent scientific panel, and the new goals to be pursued with its partners: the Politecnico di Torino, Eni Sustainable Mobility, Lloyd’s Register and Superyacht Eco Association, a non-profit organisation created by the Yacht Club de Monaco and Credit Suisse. Milestones in Azimut’s green path include the first fuel cell tested on board, the first hybrid yacht and a fleet of Low Emission Yachts that emit up to 30 per cent less CO2 than comparable boats with shaft line propulsion.

Giovanna Vitelli, Chair of the Azimut-Benetti Group, said: “We don’t just wait for the solutions of the future, but we combine tomorrow-oriented research with today’s concrete answers, validating our research with the best scientific and certification bodies.” 

Its approach involves the search for alternatives to fossil fuels, an activity conducted by the Group’s R&D department, which involves scouting and testing of solutions ranging from biodiesel to synthetic fuels. The desire to evaluate which solution could be immediately applicable and effective with a scientific and objective method led the shipyard to contact the Energy Department of the Politecnico di Torino and Professor Massimo Santarelli, professor of Advanced Energy Systems at the Piedmont university and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

The Politecnico, drawing on the experience gained in the automotive and aviation sectors, conducted an independent, extensive study on alternative fuels for the pleasure boating industry. The study analyses HVO biodiesel, methanol and hydrogen, comparing their efficiency, safety, availability and costs in a short and medium-term horizon.

Presented by Professor Santarelli, the results highlighted the advantages of biodiesel compared to methanol and hydrogen. Green or synthetic methanol, the type effective in reducing CO2 emissions, is an option that cannot be implemented in the short term due to critical issues related to production and distribution, but could be promising in a longer term. Gray methanol, on the other hand, has a higher life cycle footprint than traditional diesel. Hydrogen represents a distant alternative due to the complexities of storage and safe management on board.

“Today, biodiesel is the only viable alternative to fossil fuel and at the present the most effective to contribute to the decarbonization of the pleasure boat sector,” Professor Santarelli said.

HVO biodiesel is currently among the most mature solutions, ready for immediate and practical use, as adoption does not require significant changes to the storage or propulsion system. The study by the Politecnico di Torino underlined the Group’s recent collaboration with Eni Sustainable Mobility, the Eni company dedicated to accelerating the path towards mobility carbon neutrality. The agreement, announced in June, involves replacing the fuel used for sea trials, technical tests and transfers of prototypes and newly produced boats – approximately 700,000 litres in total per year – with HVOlution.

The Eni biofuel is made from renewable* raw materials and reduces CO2 emissions by up to 90 per cent compared to the reference fossil mix, depending on the specific raw materials used for its production**. The R&D department of Azimut-Benetti Group was the first to extensively test the HVOlution biofuel for use in the nautical sector. Azimut also used biodiesel in specific laboratory tests of the new Magellano 60 which, during the summer, sailed in the Mediterranean powered by HVO.

The tests recorded a reduction in well-to-wake CO2 emissions of more than 80 per cent compared to a yacht of comparable size powered by fossil fuel.

Azimut-Benetti collaboration with Lloyd’s Register and SEA Index

After two decades of research to reduce CO2 emissions, the shipyard is observing significant growth in the relevance of emissions as a discriminating factor in the purchase of a yacht. This trend highlights the absence of standardised, transparent information that allows owners to collect, read and compare data and ratings, which are typically offered in the automotive and real estate industries.

CGI of Azimut Seadeck 9
CGI of Azimut Seadeck 9

The group has started to collaborate with Lloyd’s Register and the Superyacht Eco Association, which through the SEA Index calculates the CO2 emissions of yachts from 25-100m and beyond. In September, Azimut became a corporate member of the SEA Index to support the association in the definition of an objective carbon emission index that permits comparison for yachts under 24m.

Azimut, together with Lloyd’s Register – one of the main classification bodies in the maritime sector – has realised a consumption and CO2 emissions certification plan in standard conditions.

Based on the tests carried out with Azimut yachts and a database integrated with the shipyard’s findings, Lloyd’s has developed a comparison index for the Superyacht Eco Association which expresses CO2 emissions in relation to the volume of the boat and the reference speed (g CO2/GT.NM), data held by all shipyards and easily detectable during a sea trial.

The index has essential criteria and can become a point of reference for producers, technicians and specialists in the sector.

Natalie Quévert, General Secretary of the Superyacht Eco Association, said: “SEA Index was created to mobilize the sector to undertake concrete interventions to reduce CO2 emissions. Thanks to the partnership with Azimut, SEA Index can also certify yachts under 24m, with the ambition of reaching a number of owners to start an unprecedented movement.”

Azimut has laid the foundations to create a new, more conscious phase of the nautical industry to reduce the environmental impact. It will progressively certify all new boats with the aim of making consumption and emissions data accessible for consultation. The new ambassadors of the shipyard’s green route, the Seadeck 9 and the Grande 30M, are among the first models involved in the programme.

The Seadeck 9 has been announced as the third Seadeck model representing the first series of hybrid yachts for families and the most efficient ever created by Azimut, achieving a reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 40 per cent, between navigation and time spent at anchor, compared to a traditional flybridge boat of similar size.

The Grande 30M, previewed during the press conference in Cannes, marks a new stage in the shipyard’s collaboration with ZF. This mode will be the first equipped with the new POD 4900, developed by Azimut in partnership with ZF.

Marco Valle, CEO of the Azimut-Benetti Group, said: “Less than one year ago, I announced the Group’s desire to involve the nautical world in the development of an objective index to compare consumption and emissions. Today, thanks to the collaboration with Lloyd’s and SEA Index, that tool exists. The Azimut yachts in Cannes are displayed with their key impact data, certified by a third party and shared with owners as well as the public.”

* Pursuant to EU Directive 2018/2001 “REDII”.

** According to the conventional criterion of Directive (EU) 2018/2001 “REDII”, the reduction in CO2eq emissions of the HVOlution along the logistics-production chain in 2022 was between 60% and 90%, compared to the mix reference fossil (i.e. 94g CO2eq/MJ), depending on the raw materials used for its production.

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