LONDON: Bill Gates has bought the world’s first hydrogen-powered superyacht, which is reported to be worth $644 million.
The Microsoft co-founder has ordered construction of the “Aqua” yacht, which has been designed by Dutch marine architects Sinot and was a big hit at last year’s Monaco Yacht Show.
The vessel will be powered fully by liquid hydrogen, with its only product being water, and will come in at 112-meters long and comprise five decks.
Its top speed is reported to be 17 knots and it can travel nearly 6,000 kilometers before needing to be refueled.
The ship will have its own gym, spa and beauty room, a massage parlour and yoga studio as well as a cascading pool at the rear.
On the lower level, the ship’s 14 guests and 31 crew will be able to view the ship’s hydrogen fuel tanks, which will both weigh 28 tons and will be vacuum-sealed and cooled to -253C to contain the liquid hydrogen fuel which powers the ship.
It is expected to be ready by 2024.
Liquid hydrogen is often touted as a fuel of the future in mass transportation and has already been used in fuel-cell buses in cities such as London, Sao Paulo and San Francisco, as well as in passenger car prototypes and spacecraft propulsion.
Gates, 64, who is reportedly worth $110 billion, regularly rents yachts for his vacations and summer trips on the Mediterranean Sea, but the “Aqua” would be the first vessel he would own.
Speaking to Forbes, designer Sander Sinot said: “With every project, I challenge my team and myself to surpass ourselves.
“For development of AQUA we took inspiration from the lifestyle of a discerning, forward-looking owner, the fluid versatility of water and cutting-edge technology to combine this in a 112 meter superyacht with a fully operational liquid hydrogen and fuel cell system that features groundbreaking in technology, as well as design and aesthetics,” he added.