The 243-foot hydrogen-powered ‘Plectrum’ hydrofoil
The almighty hydrofoil just won’t go away. As many jeers as they get from traditional boaters, there really is no argument — hydrofoils do work, just under the right circumstances.
Apparently Lazzarini Design Studio has figured that out, too, because the same forward-thinking designers that brought you the Pangeos are now in the midst of creating a hydrogen-powered hydrofoil that will make old-school boaters have a meltdown.
For those unaware, hydrofoils have a long history dating back to the 1960’s. Even smart fellows like Sir Alexander Graham Bell (yes, the telephone guy) saw their potential and dove headfirst into developing their potential.
That tradition is carrying on. Over the last few years, several recreational boating manufacturers have begun exploring hydrofoils once again, to the point that we’ve even had to ask the question — are we finally ready for the hydrofoil pleasure boat era?
You can make a fair argument that, yes, we are.
Now, Italy’s Lazzarini Design Studio is taking it a step beyond the ‘recreational’ notion with the almighty Plectrum– a 243-foot (74 m) superyacht that’s designed to ‘fly’ across the water with a top speed of an unfathomable 75 knots (86 mph).
When’s the last time you saw a superyacht even break 35 knots?
In order to reach such speeds, the hydrofoils are obviously the cornerstone but the vessel will still need plenty of power to get it onto plane. That comes courtesy of three high-powered engines generating 5000 hp each.
The reason we say engines, and not motors, is because the Plectrum will also be hydrogen powered. How is that possible, you might wonder?
Let us explain.
Surprisingly, the concept of hydrogen powered boats is quickly gaining traction, arguably as much as the movement towards electric power. We’ve looked into this ourselves, and it’s undeniable there’s a grassroots movement developing. Powerhouses like Yamaha and Toyota recently paired up to develop a hydrogen engine with marine applications (which they tested on a Toyota Corolla first), and other superyacht builders like Lürssen, Feadship, and Sunseeker are all currently building hydrogen-powered protoypes.
So what’s the reasoning behind not only using hydrogen power, but also making it a hydrofoil? Simple — efficiency.
Hydrogen produces an incredible amount of power relative to physical size and weight requirements that have to be installed onboard. For example, a Swiss company just unveiled a method of turning banana peels into hydrogen power. One kilogram of dried banana peels can produce 100 litres of hydrogen fuel. That means the hydrogen ‘fuel’ required to run a superyacht, meaning banana peels instead of diesel fuel, would be a fraction of the weight.
The Plectrum will also be made of lightweight carbon fibre and composites, which will further reduce the weight of the 243-foot behemoth. According to Lazzarini, the modern materials and ‘flexible’ design will create “a different super yacht configuration which will allow much faster sea traveling than conventional similar size ships.”
Among her 243 feet of length will also be four decks, six guest cabins, and one master suite. Up top are also some typical superyacht perks like a helipad, a beach club at the stern, and a pool. There’s even two garages for holding both tenders and automobiles.
If you’re all about green energy, you can place an order for the Plectrum for a cool $87 million USD and be gliding above the ocean sometime in 2025.