Microsoft founder Bill Gates has ordered the world’s first hydrogen-powered superyacht worth an estimated $644 million (R9.6 billion).
The Guardian reports that the Aqua ship – a 112-metre (370ft) luxury vessel completely powered by liquid hydrogen – includes a number of high-end features such as an infinity pool, helipad, spa and gym.
According to the boat’s designers Sinot, the yacht has five decks and space to accommodate 14 guests and 31 crew members.
Two 28-tonne vacuum-sealed tanks that are cooled to (-253C) and filled with liquid hydrogen to help power the ship.
It has the potential to reach speeds of 17 knots (about 20mph) and travel 3,750 miles (or roughly London to New York) before it needs to refuel.
“Aqua is focused on an environmentally sensitive subject: yacht propulsion and the choice of fuel. Propulsion systems have become highly optimized over the past few years: diesel-electric combinations in many configurations and setups have grown in popularity, with the goal of increasing efficiency and ultimately reducing emissions,” Sinot said.
“The yacht has been designed to provide those on board with the closest possible proximity to the water. The aft deck features a unique and innovative series of platforms cascading down towards the sea, while a large swim platform allows all AQUA passengers to enjoy the optimal experience of accessing the water at sea level.”
Gates (64) has a net worth of $113.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 richest people.
In 2010, he and Melinda Gates announced the Giving Pledge with Warren Buffett and asked other billionaires to sign to give away portions of their fortunes. As of May, 204 people from 23 countries have agreed to participate.
Sinot has denied any links with the sale of the Aqua to Bill Gates and said that the design remains a concept.