When you grow up in Finland you are never under the impression that nature is something you can form at will. On the contrary, you learn to understand the forces of the sea and the seasons – and adapt. “It’s part of our heritage to take care of nature and live in accordance with it,” says Tomas Halmesmäki, founder and CEO of OQS. “That’s why there are so many new developments in electric mobility on the water here – from urban ferries to private boating.”
One of the most impressive green projects from Finland is OQS’ own Ocean Explorer 72, a high-tech luxury catamaran equipped with a Torqeedo Deep Blue Hybrid electric propulsion and energy management system with twin Deep Blue 100i electric motors and four state-of-the-art Deep Blue batteries. While at sea, the yacht generates its own green, renewable energy through 4 kW solar panels and hydrogeneration, with two back up gensets. “It really is a green power plant of a boat,” Halmesmäki says.
“Torqeedo was the one supplier out there who could fulfil the owner’s requirements,” Halmesmäki says. Also, Torqeedo fit well into the collaborative, customized approach of OQS.
“The Deep Blue system is almost infinitely customizable. There’s a wide variety of motor types in different power classes, battery banks, user interfaces and charging options, all fully integrated into the overall system architecture,” says Dr Ralf Plieninger, managing director of Torqeedo. “The modular approach allows us to build the perfect system for each boat.”
As a life-long boater and trained engineer, Halmesmäki appreciates the OE 72 from two perspectives. “To me, the most important differentiator is the silence and the autonomy you gain with Deep Blue,” Tomas says. Thanks to the solar panels and the ability to charge the batteries while under sail, generator runtime is minimised and sailors can stay at sea for long stretches. But peace and quiet doesn’t come at the expense of comfort: the OE72 is fully equipped with multimedia systems, a double fridge, air conditioning, and other amenities.
Comfort is key – on board and while managing the Torqeedo system. The state of charge is displayed on every screen on a pull-down bar. And with one click the user gets more detailed information about the low-voltage Torqeedo battery bank which supplies most of the yacht’s hotel loads and the high-capacity Deep Blue batteries.
When the boat reaches a speed of 5-7 knots, the Torqeedo motors can be used as hydrogenerators.
“With a few clicks you switch to automatic hydrogeneration mode,” Dr Ralf Plieninger explains. “Deep Blue Hybrid’s energy management system ensures that renewable power is used, produced, and stored in the most efficient manner. The algorithm automatically finds the highest torque the propeller can run at that sailing speed for maximum energy production.”
Owners can see how energy is being produced and consumed on the yacht and how the solar modules are charging the low-voltage batteries with a glance at the control screen’s energy flow monitor. The Deep Blue propulsion batteries are charged while sailing and by solar energy once the low-voltage battery bank is fully charged. If power runs low due to long stretches at anchor or a lack of sun, the owner decides the exact state of charge or time of day the gensets will kick in. Everything is customisable to the owner’s preference.
“Bluewater sailing can be more fun, more relaxing, more sustainable and more in tune with nature,” says Halmesmäki. “The Ocean Explorer 72 is a great example of what is possible, not in the future, but today.”