Baglietto Bzero: working for an evolving future
Baglietto Bzero: working for an evolving future:
Baglietto’s commitent to sustainability presented at a conference in La Spezia
La Spezia, 13 April 2023_Baglietto, the historic Italian boat builder based in La Spezia, a true icon of international yachting, held a conference yesterday, entitled “Bzero – Working for an evolving future” to outline the shipyard’s progress in the field of new sustainable energy sources for the naval sector in today’s constantly evolving and ever-changing world. Bzero, the first ‘B’ in Baglietto’s system of values (in addition to the other 8Bs: Bold, Boutique, Balance, Borderless, Brave, Background, Brilliant, Beauty) and perhaps the most important one, represents the Company’s strong and firm commitment to achieving zero emissions.
The event was attended by the highest provincial and municipal authorities and representatives of the armed forces, the Italian and international press, as well as students of La Spezia’s Nautical School and Bachelor’s Degree course in Pleasure Craft Engineering. The opening lecture was by Giancarlo Orsini, an expert in innovation and technology and a leading figure in the training sector for over 26 years. Mr Orsini provided an insight in the current ‘mega-trends’ – the scenarios of change facing today’s society – and explained why being aware of them is essential in order to be able to seize the opportunities they offer.
The Bzero (B RAISED TO ZERO) project, which had been presented as a preview last year in Monaco, is based on the use of green hydrogen as a new energy source. The system prototype is now being developed, and an identical, though smaller-scale, one will then be installed on Baglietto yachts over 50 m in length. The prototype will be used to develop operation procedures, optimise technical solutions, and obtain the certifications required to use the system on board yachts and refill the tanks, either independently, or from an external source (making up for the lack of infrastructure in the former case and reducing refuelling time in the latter). The power station also partially contributes to the shipyard’s energy production cycle, thereby becoming part of an integrated virtuous system.
“The Bzero project – comments Baglietto’s CEO Diego Michele Deprati – once more testifies to Baglietto’s pioneering approach, our strong commitment to greener and increasingly sustainable yachting, and our active role in the ongoing inescapable energy transition process. The BZero Power Station presented yesterday – continues Deprati – is the promise we have delivered on. For almost 170 years Baglietto has been a synonym with cutting edge solutions, technology innovation, and progress. This is why we have strived to go even beyond and actively contribute to the wellbeing of our seas and the environment and to truly green and sustainable yachting, which for us is an imperative goal. In 1874 Jules Verne wrote: ‘[I believe that] water will one day be employed as fuel, that hydrogen and oxygen which constitute it, used singly or together, will furnish an inexhaustible source of heat and light […]’. Now is the time. At Baglietto – continues Deprati – we have set up a department, Baglietto Energy, specifically devoted to studying new eco-sustainable technology and the implementation of alternative energy sources in the boating industry. The BZERO Project is an important starting point, but also the ‘gate’ to the great challenge of the future, a challenge that involves knowledge, a deep sense of responsibility, humility, ambition and determination, and respect for the sea – all values that are epitomised by every single Baglietto yacht”.
The system has also a great sales potential, as pointed out by Baglietto’s Sales Director Fabio Ermetto: “The BZero project is an important journey into future knowledge. Indeed, yachts equipped with this technology can be expected to produce zero emissions up to 75 h at anchor and have a range of up to 20 nautical miles at a speed of 7 knots. The combination of hydrogen and batteries will result in 4 times more available energy than that ensured by current batteries, which will also mean great savings for the Owners”.
“The project, whose primary objective is to increase the cruising range of the boat in the electric, zero-emission, navigation mode,” adds Alessandro Balzi, Director of the shipyard’s Energy Department, “is based on the installation of hydrogen fuel cell technology on a hybrid or diesel-electric platform on board Baglietto yachts. The special storage system – continues Balzi – allows to trap hydrogen, which by nature takes up large volumes, in metal hydrides, thereby making it possible to store it in the solid form and at low pressure”.
Together with project leader Baglietto, 6 international partners are taking part in the project, all of them having design and development teams based in Italy: ARCO TECHNOLOGIES, BLUENERGY REVOLUTION, ENAPTER, H2BOAT, and SIEMENS ENERGY, as well as RINA as the certifying body across all project stages.
Besides RINA as the main partner, technical sponsors of the event were AutroItalia, Methydor, Precision Fluid Control, and Tempco.
THE BZero SYSTEM
The BZero system is based upon a hydrogen production module which uses filtered and deionised sea water to produce hydrogen with 5.0 purity grade at a maximum pressure of 35 bar thanks to AEM-type electrolysers, developing an overall power of approx. 55 kW. Electrolysers are primarily powered by energy from renewable sources (solar panels) and/or the shore power grid, so as to produce as much ‘green’ hydrogen as possible. The hydrogen thus produced is then stored in the solid state inside metal hydride cylinders (MH storage) at low pressure (35 bar, compatible with storage) and room temperature. The process of storing and releasing the hydrogen from the hydrides is managed by a ‘thermal management’ system allowing to heat up (during hydrogen discharge) and cool down (during charging) the metal hydrides. The thermal energy required comes from the heat produced by the PEM-type fuel cell module (approx. 200kW), which uses hydrogen as fuel to produce zero-pollutant and zero-noise electricity. The electricity produced by the system is controlled by a DC/DC converter installed on a central 700V DC bus previously tested on Baglietto’s hybrid technology yachts. A set of lithium-ion batteries, connected to the same bus, in parallel with the fuel cell, is in charge of absorbing energy demand peaks and troughs on the user’s side.
Boat builder Baglietto specialises in the construction of new planing aluminium yachts ranging between 38 and 50 metres in length and steel & aluminium displacement mega-yachts above 40 metres. Baglietto can currently rely on 2 production sites, in La Spezia (headquarters) and Carrara (operating site). The La Spezia headquarters extend over an area of approximately 35,000 sq. m. Over the last few years, the entire production site has been extensively renovated and enlarged. Three new sheds allowing for the construction of yachts up to 65 m in length were built in La Spezia, as well as new fully-equipped quays, to berth vessels of up to 70 m. The operating site in Carrara, conversely, comprises 2 areas of 5,000 sq. m each. One is used to build military crafts, while in the other – now equipped with 4 new sheds – yachts up to 50 m in length are built. Baglietto’s activities are set to grow considerably, not only with regard to the construction of new pleasure vessels, but also in the military sector, with the BAGLIETTO NAVY brand, under which 2 crafts for the Italian Navy are currently under construction.
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