BY David Robinson on 13 Jun 2022

Sunreef advances its green credentials with the launch of its debut 80 Eco catamaran

Luxury catamaran builder, Sunreef Yachts, has very firm ambitions for going green. The introduction of its new 80 Eco sailing catamaran is the latest indication of the Polish builder’s growing commitment to environmentally aware boating.

Sunreef Yachts’ president and founder, Francis Lapp, has described the Eco range as “an ambitious and demanding project [that today] is at the heart of our actions. We combine innovative technology, natural materials and green propulsion solutions, to offer the best of sustainable yachting.”

This commitment now translates into the brand’s new-for-2022, Eco lines. These comprise the sailing Eco range with Sunreef’s 50, 60, 70, 80 and 100. The Power Eco range includes the 40, 60, 70, 80 and 100 Sunreef Power. In February, the yard also added the Sunreef 43M Eco edition to the range, dubbed by the shipyard as “the green superyacht of the future”.

The new 80 Eco debuted in Dubai

The first Sunreef 80 Eco was scheduled to have a grand premiere event on the last day of the Dubai International Boat Show in March, but this debut had to be cancelled due to transport delays.

This new model is fully solar-powered, all-electric and operates using state-of-the-art revolutionary green technology for fuel-free cruising, in total silence and luxury. Sunreef describes the model as “the world’s most advanced sustainable luxury catamaran.”

Solar panels are made ultra-thin and are integrated with the catamaran’s structural composite – a technology that’s been developed by the company.

The Eco 80 brings together all the latest design expertise so that the craft is built to navigate and cruise in as near as complete harmony with the elements as possible. In the view of the builder, it is “a pioneer in the world of responsible yachting” – a floating statement of Sunreef’s commitment to sustainability.

The 80 Eco left its yard in Poland bearing ultra-thin integrated solar panels

The key to this yacht’s advancement is the Sunreef 80 Eco’s solar power system, which features ultralight composite-integrated solar panels within the vessel’s hull sides, mast, superstructure and bimini roof. All this involves using industry-first technology, with the photovoltaic system able to deliver up to 36kWp of solar power.

Lapp says: “We take a great step forward with this truly pioneering yacht. Renewable energy is the key element in the design of the Sunreef 80 Eco. Thanks to a revolutionary solar power system, hydro-generation [the harnessing of power from fast-moving water produced by the yacht when underway], and high-performance sails, the Sunreef 80 Eco provides full autonomy, relying on the sun, water and wind.”

The yacht’s sail-free propulsion comes from twin 180kW electric engines providing top energy efficiency and performance. While under sail, the Sunreef 80 Eco recovers energy from the passive motion of two propellers thanks to an advanced hydro-generation system. The energy obtained is used to power both the propulsion and onboard appliances. The system can generate over 15kWh while sailing above seven knots.

The Sunreef 80 Eco’s solar panels are made ultra-thin and integrated with the catamaran’s structural composite – a technology developed by the company. The panels are made of the industry’s most efficient cells with a thickness of less than a millimetre and weighing around 1.8kg per square metre; average solar panels weigh between eight and 15kg per square metre.

Sunreef Yachts’ president and founder, Francis Lapp

This means that the 80 Eco has one of the lightest solar power systems in the world, for which patents are pending. The 80 Eco has 160sqm of panels, more than any other solar 80-footer (23.9m). The panels weigh 340kg, and their 34kWp generated compares with a 20kW generator set which weighs some 400kg and commonly runs on diesel energy.

Onboard batteries are custom-built for optimal results. These weigh about five kilogrammes per kWh, have a lifecycle of 10 years or more, and depending on the yacht size, they discharge between 400 and 700 volts.

This new model is fully solar-powered, all-electric and operates using state-of-the-art revolutionary green technology for fuel-free cruising in total silence and luxury

In developing the yacht’s overall power system and its energy-saving potential, Sunreef analysed all onboard energy consumers to calculate the most efficient management possible. The air-conditioning system, a unique gas-based one, uses 50 per cent less than regular designs, and it weighs only one-third of a standard system. It is driven directly by high voltage, and most of the equipment is run on direct current – rather than an alternating one. The ultralight solar power system is also beneficial.

Complementing all the technical aspects on board, this first Sunreef 80 Eco is the range of features that add the luxury for the owner and guests.

Purchased by a Middle Eastern owner, the first hull has four luxury guest cabins plus accommodation for up to four crew and a modern, fully equipped galley area. The main deck saloon includes a piano and bar to contribute to the entertainment and relaxation onboard, and to help keep fit while cruising, there are two treadmills on the flybridge.

With so many yacht builders looking to be sustainable and go green, the commitment of Sunreef Yachts to this strategic objective has already been recognised by an award. Sunreef Yachts Eco won a 2022 German Design Award – at an annual international event organised by the German Design Council. This award was in the Eco Design category and recognised the most inspiring designs across various industries worldwide. The jury decided on the Sunreef Yachts Eco’s solar power system as the best product in the Eco design category.

Technical Specifications Sunreef 80 Eco

LOA: 23.9m
Beam: 11.5m
Fully battened mainsail: 200sqm
Genoa: 155sqm
Gennaker 340sqm
Staysail: 70sqm
Solar panels: 160m; 34kWp
Engines: 2 x 160kW
Battery bank 550kW
Cabins: 5 doubles
Crew: 1 cabin, 2 berths

About the author
David Robinson is a freelance yachting journalist with over 20 years of experience, writing for titles in Europe and the Asia-Pacific.