Switch Maritime (an impact investment firm) has completed the world’s first hydrogen fuelling of a commercial marine vessel at All American Marine shipyard.
The new 75-passenger ferry, called the Sea Change, received hydrogen into its 242 kg tanks on the upper deck, which it uses in fuel cells producing electricity to power electric motors for sailing around 300 nautical miles, and speeds up to 20 knots.
The fuel loaded in the vessel’s tanks includes green hydrogen, produced in California by an electrolyser powered with renewable solar power, which results in zero carbon emissions in the production of the fuel as well.
The project is also partially funded by a US$ 3 million grant from the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The vessel is now beginning its final sea trials before delivery.
Pace Ralli, CEO of Switch Maritime, said, “Hydrogen will play a major role in that future, and major players in the maritime industry are ready to decarbonise.”
Zero Emission Industries (ZEI), formerly Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine, was responsible for the design and development of the first-of-its-kind maritime hydrogen and fuel cell system and its fueling system to be fueled directly from a hydrogen truck and was responsible for the successful regulatory approvals of all hydrogen-related aspects onboard.
Danny Terlip, a Lead Engineer at ZEI, added, “Our whole mission at ZEI is to build new technology that makes hydrogen accessible and easy to use, and this event demonstrates how far we’ve come.”
West Coast Clean Fuels (Wccf) developed and permitted the end-to-end clean fuel supply chains that will deliver hydrogen to the Sea Change. BayoTech takes responsibility for high-pressure gaseous hydrogen delivery to Sea Change during sea trials in Washington using transport trailer-to-ship transfer.
BAE Systems has successfully installed its HybriGen® Power and Propulsion solution for integration on the vessel. The system interfaces with a hydrogen and fuel cell system provided by ZEI and lithium-ion batteries to power the vessel without needing a traditional combustion engine. BAE Systems worked with the All American Marine (vessel’s builder) and Incat Crowther (designer) and used proven controls and components that passed the US Coast Guard certification and inspection.