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No Excuses: Nobiskrug on Believing in Green


In the past few weeks, has been speaking to industry leaders on the topical matter of ‘green yachting’. Between the materials used and fuels burned, yachting is not known for its eco-friendliness. However, having spoken to Oceanco, Lurssen and Heesen on the subject, it is evident that minimising their impact on the world’s oceans is a priority for the shipyards of 2019. This week, we speak to Holger Kahl, Managing Director at Nobiskrug, who makes it clear that the German giant are determined to make their mark on the future of green yachting.

The question of what shipyards can do to be greener is clearly something that Holger has thought about a lot; when faced with the question, he quickly identifies the main areas that need attention: “At the forefront of the industry is innovation within propulsion systems and hybrid engines. Alongside that, yachts that possess sleeker, more efficient hull designs can help to significantly reduce a yacht’s carbon footprint.” As well as optimising propulsion, engines and hull design, Holger mentions continued advances in the fields of software and onboard technology as having potential to address environmental obstacles. 

It’s all well and good talking about it, but what is Nobiskrug doing to implement these ideas? Holger’s team take great care to ensure their activities are as sustainable as possible, from the materials that they choose to the technologies that they pioneer. A shining example of Nobiskrug’s eco capabilities is 80m Artefact, which was launched earlier this week. From her hybrid propulsion system to her use of solar power, she is truly an eco-friendly yacht for the ages.

Further, in addition to their membership of numerous initiatives to preserve the world’s oceans, Nobiskrug have cut out the middleman and established their own charity event. “Giving on the Green invites guests from the yachting industry to partake in a golf tournament, after which all the proceeds are donated to a charity on behalf of the winners,” Holger explains.

Criticism surrounding the yachting industry often centers around the fact that the automotive industry is making leaps and bounds in green technology, and holds the two to the same standards - erroneously, Holger believes: “The automotive and yachting industries are often compared, but there are numerous factors that prevent it from being able to be held to the same standards. For example, the technology is available to build a yacht that can be powered on liquid natural gas - the cruise industry has successfully illustrated this. But the global infrastructure is not yet present to give a yacht the freedom to be able to regularly refuel in this.” 

Another disparagement to the notion of green yachting is the idea that the term is an oxymoron; that yachting, by its very nature, is not green. Whilst many industry members have conceded the truth of this statement but defended the validity of slow and incremental effort, Holger’s optimism is infectious: “We believe yachting can be green,” he asserts, With the developments in solar power and electric propulsion, it is perfectly feasible that there will come a time not long from now when yachts have drastically reduced their carbon footprints, and their impact on the oceans is minimal.” 

It is clear that, for Nobiskrug, environmental innovation is not an industrial obligation, but a professional desire, verging on a personal responsibility. They welcome pressure from clientele and legislative bodies alike, but always remain ahead of the curve of what can be achieved in terms of minimising the impact of yachting on the ocean.

The automotive and yachting industries are often compared, but there are numerous factors that prevent it from being able to be held to the same standards.
Holger Kahl, Managing Director at Nobiskrug