The 540SE is powered by a pair of small diesel engines, typically found on boats under 40 ft in length. These will still be able to propel the hull to top speeds of over 50 mph.
The 540SE is powered by a pair of small diesel engines, typically found on boats under 40 ft in length. These will still be able to propel the hull to top speeds of over 50 mph.

The boat, designated 540SE (Super Efficient), is intended as a technology demonstrator to show what boats are capable of when built with new nano-enhanced materials like Arovex.

Construction of the boat has begun at Pacific, Washington, USA-based Strategic Composites.

The 54 ft boat will weigh less than 8000 lbs, fully equipped. Zyvex says this is about 75% less than glass fibre composite boats of its size, and 33% less than conventional carbon fibre composite boats. The lower weight means the boat needs 75% less horsepower, has reduced emissions and extended range.

“By re-imagining and designing boats to take full advantage of our materials, a new generation of boats can be built that are remarkably lighter, consume far less fuel, and cut carbon emissions,” says Lance Criscuolo, President of Zyvex Performance Materials. “By greatly reducing the weight of the boat, performance is increased and emissions are cut by more than two-thirds. This will create a new breed of boats that have expanded capabilities, range, and are environmentally responsible.”

“This boat will be able to do things that other boats can’t,” adds Strategic Composites President Ron Jones Jr. “It could be carried and airdropped by cargo aircraft, for rescue, deployment, or intercept missions.”

“The use of these new nano-enhanced materials is what will allow a new generation of ultra efficient green boats to be built,” he continues. “Cities, security forces, and governments that are looking for a flexible platform with super efficiency have an answer now.”

While designed with defence and security missions in mind, the technology demonstrator will be a conventional civilian/recreational boat. A recreational version using the same hull and materials is also planned and should be available in early 2010 through Synergy Yachts. The prototype is expected in November 2009.

Arovex is a high performance prepreg using CNT enhanced resin. The resin is said to offer offer dramatically superior mechanical properties over conventional prepregs without CNTs. Arovex is available in standard, intermediate and high modulus carbon fibre, glass, and as a unidirectional, woven or knitted material. Arovex is reported to process and handle just like conventional prepregs.

ZPM, Columbus, Ohio, is focused on developing nanotechnology to improve the properties of composite materials.