Water transport dates back centuries, traditional structures like kayaks, canoes, and sailboats. Fast forward a few hundred years, and boating has changed a lot, though it still plays a significant role in society, transporting goods and people throughout the world.
More recently, we've seen an evolution in eco-friendly water transportation, primarily due to climate change awareness, emerging technology, and the transitioning transportation industry as a whole, namely the automobile sector.
This even newer version of boating includes luxury branding that highlights environmental awareness. Of this new generation lies a remarkable product powered by hydrogen that looks like it's hovering above the water.
The Soaring Ship
Jet ZeroEmission is a Swiss company founded by Alain Thébault, a French yachting enthusiast who holds a prestigious world sailing speed title. Thébault is the inventor behind this futuristic ship.
"THE JET ZeroEmission is a hydrogen-powered boat
with iconic design and high-end positioning. A one-of-a-kind boat in the world, both innovative and respectful of the environment: zero-emission, zero wave, zero noise, 'flying' 80cm above the waters at a speed of 35-40 knots."
JET ZeroEmission contains two hydrogen-powered fuel cells that power the electric motor "by mixing hydrogen and oxygen to form a bigger fuel cell 'stack.'"
The yacht will contain hydrofoils that create the illusion of a flying boat. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, hydrofoils are large wings located beneath a ship that help lift the boat off the water at high speeds.
Hydrofoils don't just look cool. They also allow boats to cut through waves easier, thus running more efficiently and reducing the need for resources.
The Jet is grabbing the most attention, but the vessel will come in two forms, the Jet and the Liner. According to the company's website, the Jet will be a smaller version of the Liner - a model catered toward luxury hotels and exclusive clientele.
The Jet will hold up to 8 passengers and reach cruising speeds of up to 40knots, or 46mph. The slightly larger Liner is catered more toward the general public via collaborations and partnerships with various global associations, organizations, and governments. This version will hold up to 32 passengers and reach cruising speeds of 25 knots, or 28mph.
The company has received a sum of notoriety for its project, even claiming to be supported by Prince Albert II of Monaco's Foundation. As a result of this support, the Jet is well along the completion path, with an expected launch date to be sometime in 2023.
"We are pleased to make this announcement from Dubai, and be able to manufacture and launch 'The Jet,' which is going to be the world's first boat to sail without noise, waves, or emissions," said Thébault.
Some may argue that society should move away from unnecessary transport methods and instead encourage carpooling systems, but yachts aren't likely to go away. So the most logical and practical approach is to create more eco-friendly means of transport that give yachting enthusiasts an eco-friendly option.
Further, catering to individuals from a high socio-economic background can help expedite business growth. In the case of sustainability, the rapid growth of a business can lower manufacturing prices and improve accessibility when done ethically. For the Jet and the Liner, this seems to be a primary objective.
A similar trend is seen with Tesla Motors. Electric vehicles are still on the higher end of the price range, but Tesla's targeting of high-income individuals allowed for a level of exclusivity, resulting in acceptance and purchasing. Over time, competitors noticed the popularity and wanted in, offering comparable items at similar or lower prices. As a result, electrical vehicle models on the market have become significantly more affordable.
The trend is already seen in electric boats, other hydrogen-powered yachts, and even wind-powered cargo ships, showing that competitive advantage can be crucial in the transition to a more sustainable future.