Ecological Catamaran to Set Sail

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Europe's largest ecological catamaran, electrically powered by solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and diesel-electric thermal generators has been developed by boat builder Drassanes Dalmu.

With a seating capacity of 150, a length of 78 feet and a width of 34 feet, the Eco Slim  is intended mainly for tourism and can cruise at eight knots.

The catamaran is 50 percent lighter and has 20 percent less drag than conventional models, thanks to the boat's hydrodynamic design and innovative hull construction. The port and starboard were made separately and then joined together using a vacuum infusion system. Because the Eco Slim is so light and hydrodynamic, its able to use less powerful engines.

A team of engineers from the Barcelona School of Industrial Engineering and the Barcelona School of Nautical Studies at UPC-Barcelona Tech helped design the catamaran.

Jordi Llorca from the Institute of Energy Technology (INTE), and Prof Ricard Bosch and Prof Víctor Fuses of the Department of Electrical Engineering, designed the catamaran's propulsion system with the assistance of PhD student Oriol Gallemis.

The system uses two electric motors connected to multiple energy sources: a diesel generator and a set of 90 lead batteries. The batteries are charged either by connecting to the generator or the two wind turbines and 40 solar panels on the deck of the boat.

All elements involved in the boats energy supply system are centrally controlled by an electronic management system. Along with navigational instruments, this electronic management system is powered by a lead battery and a 2 kilowatt hydrogen battery.

With this propulsion system, the Eco Slim can sail continuously for four hours at six or seven knots. The motor and batteries can be recharged in an hour and a half.