5 years in the making, eco-warrior Bill Gates’ hydrogen fuel-cell-powered megayacht is finally ready. A first of its kind in the world, the 373 feet long vessel has stealth balconies that pop out with the press of a button, multiple libraries, fireplaces, a private elevator, and a hospital

Centibillionaire Bill Gates and Feadship have made yachting enthusiasts around the world an excited lot by unveiling the spectacular 388-feet Project 821. When the gates to the drydock doors slid open on 4 May, the world’s first hydrogen fuel-cell superyacht impressed every onlooker. Five years of toiling gave the world a superyacht, allegedly owned by the tech tycoon, that is as green as it is gorgeous and as clean as it is charming. It takes a gutsy (and rich) owner to fuel the dream of a yacht that sails on a zero-diesel approach to operate the yacht’s hotel load and amenities with emission-free power from green hydrogen.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates who commissioned Project 821, even bought a support vessel worth $25 million, the 24-feet Wayfinder. Tables turned while the ship was still under construction, and Gates closed the gates on Project 821 for good. He is now looking to sell both ships, which are listed for sale.

According to reports, the 7000 GT megayacht is on sale for nearly $640 million, featuring impressive technology, gigantic proportions, and luxurious amenities. Additionally, the buyer will have the rare opportunity to immediately sail the Mediterranean on this colossal vessel, bypassing the usual years-long wait. The luxury vessel will be etched in history as the first ship in the world to be powered by a pure green hydrogen fuel source. Feadship worked tirelessly in crossing big hurdles developing a way to store compressed liquid hydrogen below deck at -253°C aboard a luxury yacht.

Thanks to Bill Gates and his bottomless pits of wealth ($128.5 billion, according to Forbes), it was possible to develop the required technology to transition away from fossil fuel and process hydrogen in a fuel cell to produce electricity and water in the form of steam. Aboard Project 821, the cryogenic fuel tank holds 92 m2 or 4 tonnes of hydrogen in sixteen compact fuel cells.

This technology demanded that the yacht’s length be increased by 13 feet for the switchboard connection to the DC electrical grid and to accommodate the vent stacks for the escaping water vapor. Evidently, going green and clean is not a cheap task, but it is worth sacrificing 13 feet or more of space for the good of the environment, especially as a yacht this exquisite will be sailing the high seas for decades to come.

The Dutch shipyard stated even a yacht the size of Project 821, 388-feet, cannot carry enough liquid hydrogen to power an Atlantic crossing, but it certainly helps in significantly reducing a vessel’s carbon footprint where it is largest, the hotel load. Nearly 70-78 percent of a yacht’s total energy annual use is to supply its hotel load. Even when yachts are moored as is the case with Amadea or the Alfa Nero, they are constantly burning fuel for heating or air conditioning to maintain the niceties inside.

Replacing that electrical power with non-polluting hydrogen fuel cells will forever change the way environmentalists and even buyers look at superyachts, and Project 821 is setting a precedent. In the absence of pure hydrogen, the vessel relies on MTU generators combusting HVO, a second-generation biofuel that reduces harmful emissions by 90 percent.

Bill Gates’ megayacht is equal parts clean and smart –

The stunning five-decker is a win-win vessel for an eco-conscious billionaire. From being innately clean, it even flaunts an efficient waste heat recovery system. It heats everything from the pool, Jacuzzi, and steam room to the ambient air temperature and towel bars and floors in the guest bathrooms. A Smart AC system includes sensors that automatically reduce air conditioning or heating in unoccupied guest spaces. Talk about a smart superyacht, and it could have only come from the genius of a tech tycoon! Back in 2020, rumor mills went abuzz with reports that Bill Gates pledged well over $600 million to build a 376-foot-long, hydrogen-powered superyacht concept. Guess there is no smoke without fire, and the result is now out of dry dock for all to see.

Beyond boasting technologically advanced features like the aforementioned, the vessel is packed with every luxury a billionaire can need. With the most hull openings of any Feadship that result in fourteen balconies that are concealed when closed but slide out at the touch of a button, carrying with them their side railings or walls. When fully deployed, their floors rise to become perfectly level with the interior room. The magic doesn’t end there, unlike most yachts, Project 821 boasts a plethora of knowledge in several libraries, multiple offices, a hospital, a private cinema, gym for the fitness conscious, and an expansive wellness area. The five decks also feature several outdoor spaces, many pools with one glass-bottomed counter-flow, and a semi-submerged lounge to enjoy the life beneath the vessel.

With 12 guest cabins and a lavish owner’s suite, there is opulence in every nook and corner. Project 821 designed by RWD, commissioned by Edmiston, is the most environmentally friendly yacht that will allegedly sell for $640 million owing to less wait period and unmatched technology but that is yet to be seen.

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