Barcelona’s Zen Yachts has closed a €5.5 million Series A round provided solely by ocean, rivers, and seas transportation decarbonising specialist fund Ocean Zero.
And while a solar-electric, emission-free catamaran might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to decarbonising the planet’s aquatic surface (aren’t those things supposed to be wind-powered anyway?), the phrase “Rome wasn’t built in a day” springs to mind.
"Decarbonizing sea transport and recreational boating no longer requires a leap in imaginative engineering and science. It's possible right now," explained Ocean Zero’s Operating Partner Stephen Petranek. “And time is running out. Boats produce more atmospheric CO2 each year than all the airlines in the world. This is a massive problem that has solutions that can be adopted immediately. We need innovative companies like Zen Yachts to lead us into the new world of boat electrification."
The startup’s flagship, quite literally, in this case, is the ZEN50, a craft designed from the keel up to go the distance. Crafted from carbon fiber, the exploration-oriented ocean-going solar electric yacht has an unlimited range, and includes a wind propulsion system for maritime transport provided by partner AYRO.
In so much, the craft can operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year without the need for any fossil fuels and produces zero emissions. According to ZEN Yachts representatives, the first four ZEN50 production slots have already been reserved, with prices ranging from $1.5 million up to £2.6 million.
“This is a significant milestone for ZEN Yachts and we are honored to have received the trust and support of Ocean Zero and to be part of the amazing eco-system of seven other disruptive start-ups the fund has invested in,” says Naval Architect and ZEN50 designer Julien Mélot. “ZEN50 is the first high-performance luxury catamaran yacht able to operate continuously, day and night, without a single drop of fossil fuel onboard. She is completely self-sufficient, relying only on sustainable sources of energy.”
We might not quite yet be on the verge of 100% sustainable shipping container vessels crossing the Pacific and Atlantic on a regular basis, but crafts such as ZEN Yachts, Greenline Yachts, and to a degree X Shore are working on are a fairly good start in Captain Jack’s book.