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AQUA: The hydrogen-powered superyacht that wants to explore uncharted waters

This 112m ultra-luxurious pleasure craft redefines what being a yacht owner really means - at least luxury-wise.

Trust the Dutch to find a way to make living on water as luxurious as living on land. First unveiled in the Monaco Yacht Show 2019, Sinot Yacht Architecture & Design’s groundbreaking luxury yacht, christened AQUA, combines a tech-forward design with five decks of sheer decadence.

AQUA Beach Deck

(Related: Taiwan International Boat Show to showcase luxury yachts and marine lifestyle)

The core philosophy of AQUA revolves around water: its fluidity, tranquility and ability to sustain life are central to what designer Sander Sinot hopes to evoke in the aesthetic of AQUA.

Rumors that Microsoft’s founder and multi-billionaire Bill Gates was the first to buy into Sinot’s philosophy – with a cool US$600 million – don’t hold any water, reported the Dutch design company. However, the company invites ‘any visionary client to show their interest’ in the futuristic concept.

Think ceiling-to-floor industrial grade glass windows that provide an unrivalled view of the ocean from the expansive private room, furnished with intricate wooden screens and furniture reminiscent of Japanese minimalism.

AQUA Bow-facing room

The aft portion of the yacht cascades gradually, providing sea level access at the lowest deck. The yacht is also equipped with a pool, a hydro massage room, yoga space and workout floor complete with a gym-wide hatch which opens to reveal the ocean surface at sea level.

AQUA Gym

The central staircase – usually utilitarian and, in a word, boring, even on luxury yachts – doesn’t fail to keep in theme. Winding down all five decks, the central staircase is lit by a magnificent skylight. At the bottom deck, the technological heart of the ship is hidden in plain view behind industrial-grade glass.

Capable of 17 knots and a range of 3750 nautical miles, the yacht uses liquefied hydrogen stored at -253°C in two 28-ton vacuum isolated tanks as its sole fuel source. The hydrogen-electric system isn’t just free of byproducts (sans water) – it’s whisper quiet and almost vibration-free, so all you’ll hear and feel are the ocean waves lapping against the yacht.

(Related:Buying a yacht? Here’s what you need to know)

AQUA’s alternative hydrogen-electric system may come at a watershed moment in history as the world begins to shift away from fossil fuels in a big way. However, this is not a Thunberg-esque zero-emission, wind-powered catamaran.

AQUA Owner's pavilion

For one, the yacht is enormous and replete with ornate luxury that have a significant carbon footprint from the get go. Hydrogen is also primarily collected via steam reforming, which produces plenty of carbon. Finally, storing liquefied hydrogen consumes a ton of energy (to keep it cool and pressurised).

(Related: Here’s a peek inside Riva’s new luxury yacht, the Aquarama)

It’s far too reductive to declare the Aqua a sybaritic symbol of wealth. It’s also too early to hail it as the green solution to ultra-luxury. Sander Sinot’s design is an idea: a utopian vision where design and nature concord and decadence, somehow, comes free.

For more on AQUA, click here.