The first vessel in the United States, powered by hydrogen fuel cells, is already conducting experimental voyages in the Gulf of California, reports the electronic edition Offshore Energy.
The yacht Sea Change has a length of 21 meters and a capacity of 75 passengers. It is owned by the shipping operator SWITCH Maritime and was built by the Washington-based All American Marine Shipyard.
This is the first hydrogen-powered vessel to sail in American waters. The achievement is an important step towards the transition of the shipping industry to a carbon-free future.
Decarbonization of the entire shipping industry
The passenger ship is a demonstration of the capabilities of hydrogen as a sustainable fuel for shipping.
The goal of SWITCH is to develop a platform for the construction of the first zero-carbon fleet in the United States, which will be an important tool for the decarbonization of the entire shipping industry in the future.
Talks are still underway with the US Coast Guard, which must give final approval to the widespread use of this type of propulsion.
SWITCH hopes to encourage owners and operators of passenger ships to implement the technology by replacing old and polluting diesel engines.
The components of the complete drive are manufactured by different companies. The 360-kilowatt Cummins fuel cells and the Hexagon tank were developed by Zero Emissions Industries. This system integrates lithium-ion batteries, manufactured by XALT, as well as two propellers driven by BAE Systems engines, each with a capacity of 300 kilowatts.
SWITCH Maritime claims that the system allows the same flexibility and efficiency that diesel engines offer, but with zero emissions and much simpler maintenance.
The project is privately funded, as well as a $ 3 million grant from the U.S. Air Quality Board in California.