Ships of the future - Energy efficiency with aerodynamic or solar catamarans
The aerodynamic catamaran for fast and efficient transport in La Rochelle
Their hulls, both aerodynamic and hydrodynamic, have required two years of research and development.
© XAVIER LEOTY / AFP
They have false Manta Ray airs, spin on the surface of the water up to 110 km / h consuming less fuel than a classic boat: the innovative catamarans built in La Rochelle by Advanced Aerodynamic vessels (A2V) could revolutionize the maritime transport of passengers.
The "dynamic lift" catamarans developed by the SME of La Rochelle (12 employees) are reminiscent of a skate and a prehistoric crustacean. "It was thought of as a half-jet airplane, or a plane wing curved towards the water," is quick to correct Lionel Huetz, co-founder of A2V.
These hulls, both aerodynamic and hydrodynamic, have required two years of research and development, but the result is impressive: with classic engines and a subtle weight distribution to prevent it from turning around, the catamaran reaches speeds. from 40 to 60 knots depending on the model (from 75 to 110 km / h), remaining the most economical. "Compared with a boat of the same engine, ours goes twice as fast and consumes on average half as much," says Huetz.
In passenger transport, it is estimated today that to go 100 miles offshore at an average speed of 40 knots, a boat of 36 meters, weighing 120 tons and carrying 40 passengers, or a consumption per passenger of 30 liters of fuel per 100 km. "We, for 60 passengers, we propose a boat of 24 meters which consumes 10 liters per passenger for 100 km, and with 60 nodes", assures the general director of A2V, also engineer in naval architecture and doctor in naval hydrodynamics.
In total, this represents a saving of several million liters of fuel every year, a strong argument for the environment - encouraged by the fact that grants from the Environment and Energy Management Agency ( Ademe) - but also for the profitability of an investment of the order of two million euros.
- Gabon and Lake Geneva -
The performance of A2V's vessels is linked to the structure of the catamaran, which has been the subject of numerous patents. The open bow lets in a lot of air under the platform, the air is compressed, which creates the famous "lift" relieving the boat of part of its mass. Lighter, the catamaran therefore tends to float above the water and is therefore less resistant to the ocean and waves. Result: the boat can go faster while consuming less.
Even better, "the boat needs less fuel than the others, which reduces its weight and allows it to go faster more easily, with lift starting around 25 knots." It's a virtuous circle ", says Lionel Huetz.
In total, it took A2V only four years to design and produce these unique boats.
A 25-seater "crew boat" will join in a few weeks Gabon and its owner, a French company specializing in support logistics for oil fields at sea and on land. And a star of 12 places will soon be delivered to a shipowner operating on Lake Geneva for a luxury hotel in Evian (Haute-Savoie), looking for an alternative to the helicopter to transport its rich customers since airport or the nearby golf course.
Depending on the type of navigation they will be used for (river, lake or at sea in all weathers), the A2V catamarans will present different hulls, to which the famous naval architect Marc Lombard (with whom Lionel Huetz worked) lent his competition.
olg-ban / cam - AFP
The solar catamaran for a new form of pleasure in Beaulieu sur Mer
The port of Beaulieu-Sur-Mer is home to another type of catamaran: the solar catamaran. Thanks to its hydrodynamic efficiency, the SeaZen has made sea trips for over a year without the need to recharge the power grid. In addition the aerodynamic profile of its solar roof, studied as an airplane wing, offers a low grip to the winds which is a security in case of unforeseen weather.
Passengers discover a new form of silent and odorless navigation. The charm of sailing and the simplicity of the motor boat. Generally tourists passing through Nice or Monaco enjoy the boat tour activity while residents chose rather renting a boat without a license with self-service access.
Boat tour near Nice and Monaco