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ACCIONA combines innovation and competitiveness in the design of the world’s first zero-emissions ocean-going racing yacht

10/26/2011

The Company presented the ACCIONA 100% Ecopowered, the world's first IMOCA 60 racing yacht with renewable energy-powered navigation, communications systems, hydraulics and engines.

The Company presented the ACCIONA 100% Ecopowered, the world's first IMOCA 60 racing yacht with renewable energy-powered navigation, communications systems, hydraulics and engines.

ACCIONA, the Spanish infrastructures, renewable energies and water group, has designed the world's very first ocean-going racing yacht powered exclusively by renewable energies: the ACCIONA 100% Ecopowered. The yacht was presented officially in Barcelona by ACCIONA Chairman & CEO José Manuel Entrecanales on the occasion of the 2011 Global Clean Energy Conference, as an example of how renewable energies can offer a real alternative to conventional energies, providing they are supported by a corporate and institutional commitment. The vessel was christened by the 2011 Global Clean Energy Conference's Chairman Kavita Maharaj.

Developing the ACCIONA 100% Ecopowered has involved two years of applied R&D along two complementary lines. One, developing the concept of "zero-emissions sailboat" and defining and designing  the best equipment for ensuring and optimizing the supply of energy for the vessel's navigation and communications systems and hydraulics and engines, relying exclusively on the sun, the wind and water. The second R&D line involved selecting and testing cutting-edge materials and coming up with the ideal designs for maximizing the sail's hydrodynamics. The 70-strong multidisciplinary team was backed hands-on by ACCIONA's Innovation Department.

This vessel passed all the IMOCA60-class trials, which ensure the safety standards for watertightness and seaworthiness.

As well as using renewables-only energy, ACCIONA has made every effort to ensure that the vessel rates as "zero-emissions", offsetting 115 metric tons of CO2 emissions as a result of the craft's construction process with Certified Reductions of Emissions (CREs) obtained through the Company's Anaburu and Arasinagundi wind parks in Karnataka (India). This compensation process has been certified by AENOR.
With this initiative, ACCIONA aims to go further along the road towards showing how clean and renewable energies can be a real alternative to fossil fuels and to show that innovation is the best way to come up with solutions capable of meeting society's needs and challenges.

To do so, ACCIONA has opted for a highly demanding sporting challenge: the Vendée Globe, an epic, top-flight yacht-racing competition in which a lone yachtsman sails non-stop and unassisted around the world. The 2012 edition will be the first time in its history that the Vendée Globe's starting-line includes a racing yacht without a single liter of fuel on board.

The boat's skipper will be Javier Sansó, (aka "Bubi"), a yachtsman with a long and  distinguished track record of top-level yacht racing, including a number of Open 60 races such as the Jacques Vabre 2001 and2003, the EDS Atlantic Challenge 2001 and the Vendée Globe 2000-2001. His most recent sporting achievement was the Barcelona World Race 2007-2008, in which he finished fourth overall and was the best-placed Spanish competitor.

The ACCIONA 100% Ecopowered was designed by the Owen Clarke Design Studio and features ACCIONA-developed innovations. The yacht was built in New Zealand at the Southern Ocean Marine shipyard.

Powered entirely by renewables energies

The ACCIONA 100% Ecopowered will be powered by a combination of wind energy (using two 350W wind turbine generators), PV solar power (using solar panels integrated in 12 square meters of the yacht's hull) and hydrodynamic power (obtained by two 400W generators with propellers that use the yacht's movement in the water).

The energy generated by these three sources can be stored in a bank of batteries to ensure the vessel's power source. A system based on hydrogen fuel cells (obtained from renewable energies) is on hand to provide the yacht with emergency power.

This energy system introduces a critical variable in a yacht race like the Vendée Globe: Javier Sansó will need to manage the capture, storage and consumption of energy to use energy as efficiently as possible.

New materials and design

The ACCIONA 100% Ecopowered also features a range of new materials and naval engineering innovations resulting from exhaustive research and quality controls carried out with ultrasound technology.

The keel -the part of the hull below the waterline- is made from new-generation composite materials and has been put through its paces with non-destructive testing. Its hydrodynamic design came after seven prototypes tested on a 1:7 scale in a hydrodynamic testing channel and as a result of software studies based on fluid dynamics in order to determine the optimum configuration. The final keel was analyzed on a scale of 1:3 with a range of appendage configurations at the hydrodynamic testing station at El Pardo (Madrid, Spain).

The vessel's deck was conceived as a structural element to keep down the number of struts for the hull; it has a superstructure (coach roof) based on "stealth" aircraft made from carbon fiber which is lightweight and reduces drag as the yacht moves forwards.

The carbon fiber mast is set back slightly compared to a conventional IMOCA 60: this reduces the surface of the mainsail and the weight of the boom and increases the surface of the sails at the bow, improving performance with the wind in favor.

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