Aura 51 Smart Electric: behind the scenes of its conception


The first concrete electric solution on the market ? Catamaran Aura 51 Smart Electric

8:58 min


Logical continuation of the Odyssea 24 plan initiated by the Fountaine Pajot group, and the launch of the OD Sea Lab innovation platform, Mathieu Fountaine, Deputy CEO, presents us the genesis of the Aura 51 Smart Electric. This boat is the first concrete solution the company is bringing to its mission of decarbonizing its activities. In this podcast, Mathieu Fountaine tells us more about the origins of this project, its development over the last 16 months, and the launch and first successful tests of this new generation catamaran.

Only 100% electric catamarans by 2030, an ambitious project?

On 22nd June, Fountaine Pajot, builder of some 4,000 catamarans over its forty-five-year history, announced that it was taking a majority stake in the La Rochelle-based engineering firm Alternatives Energies. The company is a specialist in the development of electric and hybrid solutions adapted to boating. With this move, the Fountaine Pajot shipyard is opening up the vast leisure craft market. And in process, it has acquired the skills needed to negotiate the shift towards carbon-free boating. “Tomorrow, we cannot just be boat builders”, summarizes Romain Motteau, Deputy CEO.

The first objective is to map the company’s carbon emissions.

In order not to restrict the analysis simply to production, but to include the impacts of product use, the Green House Gas Protocol was chosen. “We realize that usage accounts for 80% of greenhouse gas emissions”, explains Romain Motteau. For these catamarans, a time step of twenty years of sailing was used and a hundred or so different usage profiles of the yacht were calibrated. The result is 1.2 million tons of CO2, including its production. This figure is the bitter on which our strategy is aligned, with the goal of achieving “Zero carbon emissions by 2030”. So, the plan is to get rid of the 80% and compensate for the remaining 20%. The idea of engaging in replanting of Posidonia seagrass meadows – oceanic CO2 sinks that are being heavily impacted by boaters” anchoring activities, is outlined; trees will also be replanted in the Marais Poitevin, a large area of protected marshland in western France. The company will also create solutions at its production sites, at Aigrefeuille-d’Aunis and La Rochelle. 

How is the Aura 51 Smart Electric designed?

“With only one internal combustion engine, the Aura 51 is going electric. Three technological innovations aboard the boat allow for removing two of the three internal combustion engines”. This aura 51, the new model from Fountaine Pajot, differs from her 4,000 predecessors by the new technology she carries. The La Rochelle-based nautical and engineering company Alternatives Energies have developed their own solutions and are moving Fountaine Pajot towards its goal of zero carbon emissions by 2030. The advances involve the two pods, one under each hull, that propel the boat at the same time as their hydrogenator is producing electricity. The energy is stored in tow batteries no larger than those found in small electricity car. An electronic power managements system and the interface between the various components complete this ’block’.


The mindset of the process: “it’s offering the customer the possibility of zero carbon emissions while they’re cruising. The boat has enough solar productionhydrogen generation and storage to spend a week-end sailing 100% electrically, or a week at anchor without using an internal combustion engine.”

Mathieu Fountaine, Deputy Managing Director in charge of the technology project.

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