A new vessel is set to launch this year that takes advantage of hydrogen fuel cell technology. The 70-foot catamaran design is being built by Bay Ship & Yacht Co. of Alameda, California for Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine, with funding from the state's California Climate Investments program. It is intended as a demonstrater project to showcase the potential of hydrogen fuel cell power.
Dr. Joseph W. Pratt, the CEO of GGZEM, stated at the keel laying;
Today's ceremony symbolises more than the start of construction of a single vessel, it marks the start of a new movement in the maritime community, Operators all over the world are seeing that the hydrogen fuel cell electric drivetrains can provide both environmental and economic advantages.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) is administering the project, and local ferry company Red and White Fleet will handle marine operations. Other key partners include BAE Systems, the Port of San Francisco and fuel cell manufacturer Hydrogenics, who will be supplying the fuel cells for a laborator-scale marine propulsion testbed used by ABB and research organisation SINTEF Ocean.
Named the 'Water-Go-Round', the new vessel is expected to begin its operations this year on a three month trial in San Francisco Bay. This intial operating period will allow Sandia National Laboratories to geta good idea of it's performance and collect any relevant dataa needed for the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Red and White Fleet plans to use the Water-Go-Round as the first of of a number of vessels from GGZEM as part of their strategy to build a fully zero emission fleet by 2025.
Tom Escher, president of Red and White Fleet, said;
The technology for zero pollution is here today and we are honoured to be the operator of the Water-Go-Round... I'm convinced it will prove the feasibility of hydrogen fuel cell application on all maritime vessels ... California is going to prove to the global shipping community that hydrogen fuel cells offer zero pollution for the benefit of the entire world.
Dr. Pratt. says that the fuel supplier for Water-Go-Round has not yet been selected, but it has been estimated that the project's GHG emissions using a carbon intensity value of about 88 gCO2e/MJ - which is seven percent less than CARB's estimate for diesel and around 30% less than its estimate for conventional liquid hydrogen.
Pratt further suggests that GGZEM hopes to achieve much lower emissions;
Renewable hydrogen is available today, and I expect the cost of 100% renewable hydrogen to be decreasing drastically, to the point where it is cheaper than conventionally-produced hydrogen... The equipment on the boat can handle the transistion to 100% renewable hydrogen without any changes. This gives the operator flexibility to separately choose... when to transition to a zero emission fuel.
Norway is also keen to get to a zero emissions point in it's ferry activity. Zero emissions in the ferry sector for them equates to a reduction of 600,000 tonnes of CO2 each year. Norled, the Norwegian ferry company, recently won a contract for the development, construction and operation of a hydrogen-electric ferry where at least 50% of the energy requirement is covered by hydrogen. According to them, the ferry will connect the national road 13 between Hjelmeland - Skipavik - Nesvik in Rogaland from 2021. The ferry is reported to have a good capacity of 299 passengers and 80 cars.