Kockums AB, Karlskrona, Sweden, is already receiving orders for its new CarboCAT MPV23. The new catamaran will be the first unit in a series that replaces aluminum with composite material.

This new generation of CarboCATs, which is scheduled for its first delivery in August 2010, will be equipped with a hull and superstructure made of carbon fiber. “The new material will allow us to lower weight and reduce fuel consumption,” says Lars Tedehammar, senior vice president of Kockums. “The boat will need less power from the engine to reach the same performance, which will mean approximately 20 percent savings in fuel consumption per vessel.”

Kockums wanted to create a boat that would be usable (ideally, 365 days a year), easily maneuverable to allow safe docking and able to handle heavy sea conditions. After all, the CarboCat will be used within the wind energy market for work boats on offshore wind turbines, and offshore wind parks where wind rages the hardest.

The new vessels will also be used as rescue boats and as ferries for local transportation within the numerous archipelagos found within Scandinavia, or as an open sea trafficker within areas such as the Mediterranean.

Tedehammar states that composites were chosen over other materials because of the material’s lightweight properties. “If you compare composite material with others, such as aluminum, it is possible to reduce the weight by approximately 30 percent and even more compared with steel,” he says. “And if the vessel is lighter it will affect the life cycle cost. If we need to use less energy to power the boats, we can use smaller engines with preserved speed and therefore have the ability to load more cargo per load.”