How Van Oossanen Naval Architects is laying the groundwork for the yachting industry’s future

Since its inception, Van Oossanen Naval Architects has been at the forefront of nautical innovation. While sustainability has been at the forefront of the industry’s collective mind in recent years, few companies are taking more active steps toward a sustainable future than Van Oossanen, who has made it a major priority. We caught down with Perry Van Oossanen earlier this year to discuss the company’s history and, in particular, the Fast Displacement Hull Form (FDHF), which has been boosting superyacht efficiency since the launch of Galactica Star in 2012. Now, Niels Moerke, Perry’s business partner, has joined us to talk about how the company plans to establish a blueprint for the yachting and maritime industries’ future.

But why is the firm so concerned about the environment? When we asked Perry and Niels this question, they both said the same thing: ‘passion.’ “We will always create and push toward more sustainable solutions for our business,” Perry added. “It is at the center of everything we do, genuinely inside the DNA of this firm.” The industry’s shift toward sustainable solutions has taken a long time for both of them, but the Van Oossanen team has been innovating while the sector has been dragging its feet.

It’s no wonder that architects are at the forefront of the sustainability discourse, with 20 percent of the company’s time dedicated to independent research and development and all staff encouraged to pursue their own lines of innovation. Their relentless focus on R&D has resulted in groundbreaking solutions like the Hull Vane and FDHF, and the company’s recent participation in the Dutch government’s Project MENENS program is yet another demonstration of their commitment to future-proofing the sector.

Van Oossanen joined the Project MENENS program to help the Dutch government achieve its goal of having 30 emission-free ships on the water by 2030. Van Oossanen has been working to improve the FDHF form using artificial intelligence and CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics). “We are actually already able to achieve the 40 percent reduction in emissions through the application of the Fast Displacement Hull Form XL, which can be applied to both superyachts and commercial vessels,” he says. The company’s current goal is to have emission-free boats sailing by 2030, and it is well on its way to doing this.

While the government has agreed to finance 40% of the research expenditures, Van Oossanen is covering the remaining costs, demonstrating the company’s dedication to the mission. Niels Van Oossanen was questioned why he was willing to make such a large financial commitment. “One of the most intriguing aspects of this initiative is that it involves partners working on the entire lifetime of a vessel, from research to construction, implying that there are already build partners involved.” Shipyards in the yachting industry, commercial shipbuilders, suppliers, and even the Dutch Navy are all involved in the project. It is critical for us to be able to provide the best potential alternatives for our clients’ boats, and we must protect those clients’ interests over time.”

The development of methanol as a future alternative fuel for the maritime industry has been another key emphasis for the Van Oossanen team in recent years. While hydrogen has received a lot of attention in the media, Niels Van Oossanen and his partners believe that methanol is the best option for zero-emission propulsion. “Methanol has been slightly overlooked in our industry, and our goal is to create the technical platform that can be used for methanol yachts and vessels,” he said. Furthermore, green methanol can be produced from bi-products of other industries, such as grain, which adds another cyclical layer to the fuel production-use cycle.”

Both Niels and Perry acknowledge that the debate over alternative fuels, such as electric, hydrogen, and methanol, is limited by a lack of infrastructure to manufacture and store the fuel ashore. Van Oossanen, on the other hand, has made a significant investment in the development of such systems, and will be ready to construct vessels that can accept methanol and its systems once the infrastructure is in place.

The company’s devotion to methanol research and development is a perfect example of Van Oossanen’s overall commitment to innovation in the field of sustainability. Dr. Ir. Peter van Oossanen created the company with the goal of developing the most efficient hull form possible; now, that goal has evolved into an unwavering commitment to efficiency for the sake of sustainability. Van Oossanen Naval Architects is built on this foundation, and we can expect the company to be at the forefront of future developments in this field.