Gizmo Geek: Cruising with a Clean Conscience

The luxury lifestyle doesn’t exactly shout “sustainable”. In fact, an Oxfam report from 2015 says, “The average (carbon) footprint of the richest 1 per cent of people globally could be 175 times that of the poorest 10 per cent.” So when we hear about a top-of-the-line catamaran, our instinct is to wonder how many villages it could power for the next decade. But then, it’s quite unfair to paint all luxury tech with the same tainted brush. A fact exemplified by Daedalus Yachts, whose zero-emission luxury yacht, the D80, is set to trial in 2019.

In other words, very soon it might be possible to sail the world in your own luxury private yacht without using any fossil fuels and creating no emissions. “Clean energy in, clean air out,” is Daedalus’s motto. The D80 is going to be powered by the sun, sea, wind and water, no need to stop for refuelling. This clean energy catamaran has an innovative hybrid tech that not only recharges the on-board battery but stores excess energy in the form of hydrogen.

Twin electric motors propel the yacht, drawing power for lithium batteries. As the vessel sails, the sheering movement of the water causes its propellers to rotate, which in turn recharge the batteries back via the motors. Once the batteries are full, the energy is stored as hydrogen. Salt water is deionized, the oxygen released back into the atmosphere, keeping the hydrogen to be used as energy. In addition, a multi-hull trampoline made of Solar Cloth (as on satellites) harnesses solar power. Finally, on-board wind turbines harness the wind. With nature thus at your disposal, the proverbial empty tank is never a worry, neither are polluting emissions.

First seen at the Annapolis Boat Show in the US a few weeks back, the D80 is not only about brains—it’s quite a looker too. Constructed out of carbon fibre with concepts borrowed from the aerospace and automotive industries, this 80-feet boat has a clean, sleek and futuristic design (try the virtual tour on It can attain a top speed of 36 knots and cruising speed of 24 knots. It is slated to have a fully automated sailing schedule, so you can basically press a button and sit back. The on-board systems will take care of sail, foil position, wind state, radar, sonar and so on. There are three helm positions for easy manoeuvring and docking, and a Kevlar carbon shell to survive sand and ice.

Details on the interior aren’t available yet, but Daedalus promises luxury, and the initial photos are certainly promising. Thirteen “elegantly outfitted” sleeping cabins are planned, with a luxurious master bedroom outfitted with a slide-out terrace, plus five bathrooms with separate shower areas, and common and private living spaces. Prospective owners will also have the option of customizing their vessels as per their whimsy. At $12.5 million, you would expect that much at least. As its inaugural voyage, the D80 is scheduled to circumnavigate the earth three times with about a dozen crews. Rest assured it will be a cruise like no other.

Payal Dhar