OSS –  Construction of Project Falcon – at 60m (197ft.), Heesen’s largest steel superyacht to date – continued apace over the summer with the installation of the engines. Interior outfitting, too, made good tracks and Heesen is confident the displacement yacht will meet its mid-2021 launch date.

It calls the vessel “a perfect example” of synergy between yard, engine-maker and owner’s team to meet the latest emission standards.

Project Falcon (a code name, not the yacht’s final name) will sport Van Oossanen Naval Architects’ Fast Displacement Hull which has become a common, fuel-saving feature on Heesen yachts.

Additionally, it will have a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system that meets IMO emission norms taking effect in 2021. It filters out diesel particulates and mixes a reactant into the exhaust gases to render nitrogen oxides harmless.

MTU’s 4000 series of engines are relatively small and powerful. They generate more than 5,000HP enabling Project Falcon to cruise all day – and all night, if needed – at 17.5 knots. Heesen is no fan of slow yachts!

The new norms for NOx emissions have been in the works for years at the International Maritime Organization’s headoffice in London. The stricter limits apply to all 24m-plus yachts regardless of GT volume in IMO-designated ‘Emissions Control Areas’ that overlap some prime cruising grounds.

Meeting that standard makes Project Falcon a very future-proof undertaking.

Strictly speaking, the new IMO rules apply to yachts with keels laid as of January 1, 2021. Project Falcon’s SCR set-up is the first of its kind, a new ‘flat box’ design that saves space and still meets the new IMO Tier-III regulations for a 75% reduction in NOx emissions and a 65% drop in particulates.

“The IMO Tier III rules apply to new yachts only,” says Jeroen van der Matten, general manager of operations at MarQuip, a Dutch exhaust system specialist for sail and motor yachts. “And for refit cases, if a new engine is installed, more powerful than the one it replaces.”

NOx results from the reaction of nitrogen and oxygen gases in the air during combustion, especially at high temperatures. It is a major source of pollution from cars in cities, but also from yachts burning diesel fuel.

The IMO’s Tier III emission requirements take effect in Emission Control Areas (ECAs), along the east and west coasts of Canada and the United States, in the US Caribbean and the Baltic and North seas.

Van der Matten says making new yachts Tier III-compliant “has a cost impact” but is bound to increase a yacht’s resale value as its operational range effectively becomes larger. Heesen is currently building a semi-displacement aluminum motor yacht with an SCR system.

Project Falcon’s engine room fit-out was a logistical adventure. To save time, the twin 13.2-ton MTU engines were slid into the hull by way of the beach club,  a global first.