World’s First Hydrogen-Electric Boat Driven By PCBFC Completes Real-World Testing

Bramble Energy has unveiled the world’s first hydrogen-electric boat driven by Printed Circuit Board Fuel Cell (PCBFC) technology, marking a revolutionary turning point in the history of the marine industry. The company made a significant step toward decarbonising the maritime industry when it successfully launched a 57-foot narrowboat in Sheffield, Yorkshire, in partnership with custom engine builder Barrus.

As a component of the HyTime project, this demonstration vessel showcases the potential of Bramble Energy’s ground-breaking PCBFC technology to cut carbon emissions in marine transportation quickly and affordably. With its unique marine fuel cell system, the narrowboat can run emissions-free for up to 600 miles while utilising the 14 kg of hydrogen on board. Solar panels on the boat’s roof provide extra power, which charges a 22kWh battery system.

Electric Boat
Image Credits: Bramble Energy

In 2022, BEIS (the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero) provided Bramble Energy with over £1 million in government support to advance hydrogen fuel cell technology as a sustainable replacement for diesel engines in boats. The collaboration between Barrus and Bramble Energy accomplishes the implementation and integration of this technology.

Built from the ground up in Sheffield, the narrowboat has a brand-new hydrogen system specifically designed to satisfy maritime regulations. For every boat that uses it, this cutting-edge powertrain technology has the potential to save up to 12 tonnes of CO2 annually.

The HyTime project aims to demonstrate how using hydrogen as a fuel source can help by giving pure battery systems a more extended range and removing the need for charging stations. The CEO and co-founder of Bramble Energy, Dr Tom Mason, underlined the necessity for quick, practical, and affordable solutions without sacrificing performance and the urgency of decarbonising the marine industry. The PCBFC technology has been successfully demonstrated in a marine application, highlighting its ability to fulfil a range of power requirements with ease of scalability.

After extensive testing on UK inland waterways, Bramble Energy’s Hydrogen Innovation Hub in Crawley will evaluate the fuel cell’s real-world performance through data analysis of the narrowboat. This analysis will facilitate a smooth transition to hydrogen and help fulfil emissions rules for cleaner and greener waterways. It will also contribute to the continuous development of PCBFC systems for broader maritime applications.

Reference: Bramble Energy

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