NauticExpo e-Magazine - #16 - METS Special Issue - NauticExpo e-Magazine
November 16, 2017

Your Monthly Dose of Nautical and Maritime Innovation


The Connected World Is Now Flat

Life After Death for Your Boat

More Autonomy for Superyachts

The Online Boating and Maritime Exhibition

METS 2017 Special Issue

For the last issue of the year, we’re exploring the world’s largest marine equipment trade show, held from November 14-16 in Amsterdam. Revolutionary flat panel antennas, more autonomy for superyachts, boat recycling and hybrid and green power for leisure craft are among the hot topics debated at this year’s METS.

We’re also offering you a taste of some of the most interesting products presented at the show, especially the winners of the DAME Awards. Innovation is contagious!

Hot Topics
These new steered flat panel antennas are revolutionizing the satellite industry.
Nathan Kundtz, founder and CEO of Kymeta, talks about the technology behind the mTenna (Courtesy of Johnny Andrews/The Seattle Times)


Data-hungry users are pushing the satellite receiver market to upscale, requiring more obtrusive domes on yachts. But some innovative companies attending METS this year are taking a different approach with revolutionary flat panel antenna systems.   The American start-up Kymeta, which received seed capital from Bill...

Banner SW2D - Eric Tabarly watches
Hot Topics
The process starts with dismantling the boat. If something cannot be reused, then we look for recycling options.
Abandoned boat (Shutterstock)

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Abandoned boats are piling up, and the industry has no efficient system for dealing with them. The good news is that fiberglass can be recycled, but the big issue is volume.


Two years ago, the industry organized a conference on reuse and recycling at METS. At this year’s show, the subject is drawing renewed attention, this time focusing on sustainability. According to Albert Willemsen, environmental consultant for the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA), a current major concern is the absence of an EU-wide or global system to deal with abandoned boats.

“The problem is growing year by year. Although not proven, we suspect that the financial crisis 10 years ago increased the number of abandoned boats. We need to have a united EU or global system for this, like the automotive industry, but focused on the recreational marine industry.”

Reuse, Recycle or Throw Away

Recycling is not the only option, Willemsen explained. “The best thing is prevention, then to reuse everything that can be reused. The process starts with dismantling the boat. If something cannot be reused, then we look for recycling options. When that’s not possible, disposal is the only option left. That usually means burning or burying in a landfill.”

Right now, the price for this process is high in some member states—around 2000 euros, according to Willemsen. Boat owners who cannot afford this tend to just abandon the boat.

Crushed car for recycling (Courtesy of AP)

“The problem is volume. To get rid of a car costs 150-200 euros. The reason is that millions of cars are recycled every year. You pay for this when you buy the car, and I believe we need to develop a similar system for boats. This is one of the current discussions we are having.”

Fiberglass Can Be Recycled

Most leisure craft are built using fiberglass. But can it be recycled? “Yes it can,” confirmed Willemsen. “There have been test projects in several countries—Italy, Norway, Japan, France, Finland and others—and the results are promising. The issue again is volume. It has to be financially viable. But it’s possible to separate the resin from the fibers and reuse both, especially in things like fillers. And we should remember that a lot of other materials are used for boats too: wood, steel, aluminum.”

“It’s possible to separate the resin from the fibers and reuse both.”

Recycling on a large scale will not arrive overnight. But Willemsen remains optimistic.

“I like to start slowly and go step-by-step in the right direction. I have 30 years of experience in the boat industry. In the beginning, everybody laughed when I talked about the need for recycling. Today, the discussion is completely natural. I believe we should think along the lines of product stewardship.”

The concept of product stewardship is becoming increasingly popular in many different industries. The idea is that everyone involved should reduce the product’s environmental, health and safety impacts throughout its lifespan. That includes designers, producers, retailers and consumers.

Boat graveyard (Courtesy of Kent Porter/PD)

“Container deposit legislation is a good example. You pay an extra price for a bottle, apart from the content, and get it back when you return the bottle. In a lot of countries, when you buy paint or car tires, you also pay a fee to cover handling the toxic waste the products will become at the end of their lifespan,” said Willemsen.


He maintains that many countries are now seriously interested in this topic. “Holland, Norway, France and Germany, as well as non-European nations such as Japan, the US and Australia, are all taking part in the discussions. Sustainability is something that should be taken seriously by the boat industry. I believe boat recycling will be implemented as a natural thing in a not-so-distant future.”

Read more about Boat recycling in our special issue #9:

Fullpage Tessilmare
Hot Topics
Functions derived from the development of autonomy can be used in yachts to make them more energy efficient and safer.
Mikhail S. Vorontsov superyacht (Courtesy of YachtCharterFleet)


Superyachts featuring more and more autonomous functions is a hot topic at this year’s METS, but challenges remain.   Are superyachts plotting a course toward full autonomy? Kongsberg Maritime sales manager Roger Trinterud doesn’t think so. “Generally, I think it’s fair to say that people want to be served by people. In...

PowerDocks presented its Blue Isles at METS (Courtesy of Blue Isles)


PowerDocks announced the European launch of its Blue Isles floating microgrid at METS 2017. Initial introduction of the firm’s Marine Autonomous Powered...


The overall winner at the 2017 edition of the METS marine show’s DAME awards was an add-on to an established product—one that broadens access to marine...

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  • World's first hybrid superyacht, Savannah (Courtesy of RH Marine)

    Commercial vessels have been the testbed for electric and hybrid systems. Thanks to their safety, reliability, efficiency and green credentials, they are increasingly finding their way into leisure craft.


    METS is an obvious place to showcase electric and hybrid systems. And Engel-Jan de Boer, Lloyd’s Register yacht segment manager, confirms that hybrid-electric propulsion systems are becoming more common in yachts of all sizes.

    “We see hybrid and electric propulsion as one of the most important new trends.”

    “Lloyd’s Register (LR) has been involved with many yacht-related hybrid projects, from sailing to motor yachts. By ensuring that the likelihood of fire propagation in battery packs is minimized, and by carrying out sensible risk assessments in conjunction with an appropriately trained crew, these propulsion systems are set to significantly gain market share,” he told NauticExpo e-magazine.

    “LR is working extensively on battery and hybrid technology systems that are particularly suited to yacht applications. We are involved in a wide range of projects that aim to make batteries efficient, stable and commercially viable. We have updated our guidance on large battery installations […]. In addition, we offer bespoke [custom] training services that will assist people in making the right choices.”

    Numerous Enquiries

    As DNV GL yacht expert Martin Richter told us, “We see hybrid and electric propulsion as one of the most important new trends, especially for the leisure and yacht segments. We are constantly receiving inquiries on how customers can incorporate these new technologies into their projects and are working with many yards to realize their wishes.

    Rainbow hybrid sailing superyacht (Courtesy of Holland Jachtbouw)

    “Incorporating a hybrid system into a conventionally-fueled vessel can result in efficiency gains. It also allows a vessel to operate under full electric power, resulting in a much quieter ship and producing a lower or even zero-emissions profile.”

    Like LR, DNV GL puts safety uppermost. “There are several safety and technical considerations to examine when using Li-ion batteries onboard, notably thermal runaway and fire issues,” Richter explained. “Battery arrangement, cooling systems, structural fire protection, fire extinguishing systems and the battery management system must all be assessed.

    “DNV GL has been working on batteries for a long time and introduced the first tentative class rules in 2012, incorporating them into our rules in 2015, with the additional notations Battery(power) and Battery(safety),” he concluded.

    World’s First Hybrid Yacht

    On exhibit at METS, Dutch system integrator RH Marines 1MW DC distribution system was installed on the world’s first hybrid superyacht, the 83.5-meter Savannah, built by Feadship.

    “Our energy management system optimizes energy generation by operating the diesel generators at their most efficient point, made possible by the batteries,” RHM consultant Despoina Mitropoulou told NauticExpo e-magazine.

    “Our clients realize that hybrid is the future.”

    She also noted the impact of the Internet of Things. “We are observing a steep increase in the number of connected components on board. We see this as an enabler for the next step in our hybrid solution, by using connected device feedback for improved efficiency.”

    Mitropoulou also spoke of remaining challenges. “The trade-off between power plant capability and weight/volume is one. But we see that the leisure industry is a real driver for hybrid systems development. Our clients realize that hybrid is the future. For every project the hybrid design solution is on the table—it’s here to stay.”

    Radical Design

    Battery supplier PBES has introduced a radical design that will help slash costs for hybrid system users. Since space is at a premium on superyachts, the firm developed CellSwap, with smaller, more powerful batteries that can be replaced easily and cost-effectively every five years (Read more about CellSwap here).

    PBES at NorShipping 2017 commenting on the launch of CellSwap (Courtesy of PBES)

    Company marketing vice-president Grant Brown told NauticExpo e-magazine, “That’s opposed to an industry-standard ten years, which would require a larger system. It also allows owners to benefit sooner from rapid advances in battery technology.” Operating on batteries improves comfort and gives the vessel greater independence from shore power. It also makes it possible to stay in marinas, ports, and anchorages with ‘no-generator’ regulations.

    Safety is also increased. As Brown added, “The energy storage system supplies back-up power, eliminating blackouts and providing valuable energy reserves for navigation and propulsion in the event of an emergency. In addition, failures of onboard AV/IT systems due to power outages are eliminated.”


    A new kind of roof top which can be used as sun pad (Courtesy of Opac)


    Opac’s retractable louvered hardtop was nominated for a DAME award in the Deck Equipment, Sails and Rigging category at this year’s Amsterdam METS marine...

    The Scanstrut ROKK Charge+ waterproof USB socket (Courtesy of Scanstrut)

    The Scanstrut ROKK Charge+ waterproof USB socket was nominated for a DAME Deck Equipment, Sails and Rigging award at the 2017 METS marine equipment trade show...

    TeamO’s Tether nominated for a DAME (Courtesy of Sea to Sky Sailing)


    TeamO’s Autolock Tether received a nomination for a DAME award in the Lifesaving and Safety Equipment category at this year’s Amsterdam METS marine equipment...

    Neander innovative engine (Courtesy of Neander Shark)


    Outboard engines are the traditional propulsion for many boats, but environmental and technology changes are revolutionizing the sector.


    Outboards are the most versatile and widely utilized engines, powering everything from small commercial fishing boats to the most exclusive superyacht tenders. The cheapest are small two-stroke versions costing a few hundred dollars, allowing poor fishermen in third world countries to eke out a living on the sea. The largest are used for mission-critical coastguard duties.

    Yet they all have one thing in common—their emissions are polluting the planet. Beginning next year, several countries will ban the sale of cheap, carbureted two-strokes, though fuel injected models will remain legal. Now, even their more environmentally friendly four-stroke siblings are under pressure from a new breed of diesel outboard.

    Diesel outboards are not new, but their technology and the changing requirements of boaters are. Leading outboard manufacturer Mercury was told by the US Navy, one of its major customers, that it was phasing out highly flammable gasoline on its ships in favor of diesel fuel only.

    Plenty of Detractors

    Reliability, longevity and vastly better fuel consumption are cited by another new customer, the US Coast Guard, as justification for current trials of the new Mercury, Cox and Oxe diesel outboards. For example, Sweden’s Oxe claims its diesel outboard consumes 42% less fuel than a comparable 200 HP two-stroke outboard.

    Coast Guard diesels outboards (Courtesy of US Coast Guards)

    Major inboard diesel manufacture Yanmar has partnered with German innovator Neander to produce an outboard with a claimed operating life exceeding 10,000 hours, a figure especially appealing to commercial vessel operators. A similar story is emerging from the superyacht sector, where the trend is away from gasoline outboards and toward safer diesel power.

    Swedish diesel giant Volvo Penta bought Seven Marine in July. Seven makes the world’s most powerful outboards—627 HP gasoline models. The synergies with Volvo technology could enable the company to make diesel outboards in the near future.

    Yet it’s early days for this new sector. Many detractors cite the significantly higher costs and poor power-to-weight ratios of diesels, though this is somewhat offset by higher torque. This limits these relatively heavy engines to larger craft. Complexity and lack of proven ability are other downsides. Another major criticism is the high emissions typical of diesels. On the other hand, the Neander-Yanmar complies fully with EU RCD2 environmental regulations.


    Each of these new engines is notable in a different way, such as the unusual spark plug combustion of the Neander-Yanmar. Most powerful is the British-made 300 HP Cox CX0300. The firm partnered with Xenta System to create a joystick transmission to manage this large motor.

    Cox Powertrain chief commercial officer John Allen showing of the new powerful new engine that will be at METS 2017 (Courtesy of Cox Powertrain)

    Global sales director Joel Reid told NauticExpo e-magazine that the motor will stand out from its competitors in more than just power. “Our CXO300 has been designed to perform against gasoline outboards, as our market is asking for high transient response and rapid planing. This is why we have incorporated a supercharger to get the engine going quickly.”

    Interestingly, the Mercury 175 HP Optimax was developed by the company’s racing division, which says a lot about the expectations for and design of this 3.0 liter V-6 diesel. Oxe’s chief commercial officer Stefan Nybann told NauticExpo e-magazine that their diesel outboard is a 2.0 liter, four-cylinder turbocharged car engine with an advanced CANbus transmission, joystick controls and some unusual engineering. “We have our patented solution, the belt drive that transfers the power from the engine to the propeller shaft, allowing us to make full use of the power of a diesel engine at higher horsepower. The bevel gear system used in petrol outboards can’t over time stand the high torque that a diesel engine delivers. Only our belt drive system can do that.”

    Read more about Outboard and inboard engines on NauticExpo website.


    Michael Halpern

    Michael Halpern is a US-born and bred writer with experience in radio. He has lived in southern France for 15 years. Michael is the copy editor of NauticExpo e-magazine.

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    Øyvind Bordal

    Øyvind Bordal is a norwegian writer and sailor, based in Denmark and Caribbean.


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    Kevin Green

    Kevin Green is a Sydney-based yachting journalist who contributes to international boating publications.


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    Celia Sampol

    Celia Sampol has been a journalist for more than 15 years. She worked in Brussels and Washington for national medias (Agence France Presse, Liberation, Europolitics). She’s the editor-in-chief of NauticExpo e-magazine and MedicalExpo e-magazine.

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    Tony Slinn

    Formerly editor-in-chief of IHS Maritime, Tony Slinn is an independent maritime journalist.

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