‘World’s first’ hydrogen boat with UK fuel cell completes testing

The boat, equipped with a custom marinised fuel cell system, aims to replace diesel engines and save up to 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually per vessel

A UK-based project has successfully tested the “world’s first” hydrogen-electric boat powered by a printed circuit board fuel cell (PCBFC™).

Funded by the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund as part of the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, the HyTime project, led by Bramble Energy, recently concluded real-world testing.

Bramble Energy, in collaboration with custom engine builder Barrus, designed a 57ft narrowboat to demonstrate the potential of PCBFC™ technology.

This emissions-free narrowboat, launched in Sheffield, Yorkshire, utilises a custom marinised fuel cell system.

The fuel cell can provide a range of approximately 600 miles, thanks to the 14kg of stored hydrogen onboard.

Additional power is supplemented by solar panels on the boat’s roof, feeding into a 22kWh battery system.

In 2022, Bramble Energy received government funding of nearly £1 million from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero to develop its hydrogen fuel cell technology.

This funding supported the successful integration and deployment of the PCBFC™ technology in the HyTime project.

The narrowboat, constructed from the ground up in Sheffield, represents a new design for a hydrogen system tailored to meet marine requirements.

The adoption of this powertrain technology has the potential to save up to 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually for each boat using it.

The global maritime sector contributes 940 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, approximately 2.5% of global greenhouse gases.

In response, the Clean Maritime Plan mandates new vessels to be zero emission capable from 2025.

Dr Tom Mason, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bramble Energy commented: “While road transportation has arguably had the greatest amount of attention in terms of developing zero emission solutions, the reality is there is a massive urgency to decarbonise across all transportation sectors – especially marine.

“Carbon dioxide emissions from the marine sector are staggering. It requires a quick, convenient, cost effective technology that also provides no compromise when it comes to performance.”

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