Monday, July 14, 2008

The Future of Engines

When I was in Italy a few months ago, Norberto Ferretti—the head and co-founder of the Ferretti Group—let it "slip" that they had just launched the hull of a brand new hybrid vessel and that the engine tests had exceeded expectations. He didn't let on much more. When I asked anybody else at the Ferretti Group for further clarification they were equally tight lipped; I couldn’t even figure out if it was an electric or hydrogen based system.

Well the answer is out.

This past Friday, the Ferretti Group debuted its Mochi Craft 23. The builder claims that this is the first vessel over 75 feet to have a diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system. Twin 70-kW electric motors, powered by Lithium ion batteries, are attached to the reduction gears to provide diesel-free cruising for several hours. The hull for the vessel has been designed from scratch to accommodate both the weight of the batteries and to improve cruising at mid-range speeds.

Ferretti has not yet released information on the actual speed or fuel savings of these engines, but when it does, we’ll keep you posted.

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