The New Wave built bio fuelled catamaran, Black Gold, is more than a yacht; it’s a high tech floating refinery.

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Innovative Queensland businessman Allan Lear has a sim­ple explanation when associates query why he named his revolutionary New Wave built catamaran Black Gold. It’s simple, the 20 metre vessel, which has been secretly planned for several years, is a high tech floating refinery capable of turning black used oil sludge into a money saving alternate fuel source.

Top side the sleek catamaran looks a picture of floating luxury but out of sight her spacious hulls reveal a mind bending scene of modern engineering and associated technology. They contain the sophisticated bio fuel blending technol­ogy which collects and refines waste engine or vegetable oil for re-use as a lower cost alternative fuel.

In fact Black Gold, designed by Paul Birgan and built under a special commission by Peter Cavaliere, at New Wave Catamarans in Colmslie Brisbane, is powered with twin 600 hp Detroit diesel engines which will run on the low emission and environment friendly fuel, produced from her compact in house refinery when making oil salvage voyages to and from Australian and Pacific Island ports. This concept, which was inspired from a collection of experiences gained by Allan Lear, when sail cruising around the world and working in oil refine­ies in Kuwait, is claimed to be the first of its kind in the World.

Allan Lear, who has pioneered this revolutionary technology, confidently believes the bio fuel processing will significantly reduce fuel costs. “The most out­standing feature of the reprocessing and blending technology is the availability to solve oil waste problems in remote regions. In addition, the computer man­ aged blending allows rates to be changed to suit viscosity. This means that a blend rate can be accurately refined from various used oil stocks to then be blended as clean fuel for diesel engines”. Mr. Lear said.

In every respect, Black Gold is a very interesting fully self contained factory ship supported with two custom designed tenders including a jet boat and an amphibious vessel. The yacht has three levels, with the state of the art bridge deck containing the latest satellite navigation aids and engine control systems plus the master’s quarters, while the entry level saloon deck contains a chef style galley and comfortable air conditioned crew cabins.

As is to be expected it’s a whole new world down in her hulls; the twin engine rooms are relatively normal, but there are a number of tanks to stow diesel, waste engine oil, coconut oil, cooking oil and tallow to be converted into fuel by the specially designed refinery in her portside hull. There is also a modern heavy engineering workshop in the starboard hull including a lathe, metal saw, press drill and welder and various other tools needed to carry out repairs at remote ports.

Amazingly, the approximate 12 tonnes of extra weight has not restricted the performance, with Black Gold logging a peak speed of 22.5 knots during her initial sea trials. This performance alone will allow Black Gold to be an effective on the spot fuel oil refinery, but more importantly a fully self contained recovery vessel for treating oil spills with her surface cleaning system fitted to the tunnel between her hulls.

Black Gold will be fully commissioned and officially launched at Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, where she will be open for public inspection from May 24th to 27th.

Click "Next Story" to read about the filtration system on the Mirabella V that makes oil changes a thing of the past.

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