Hydrogen-powered ferries set to be trialled in UK this year
Plymouth firm is working with companies abroad on plans to develop hydrogen-fuelled boats and aircraft
A Plymouth businessman behind an ambitious bid for Devon’s closed down Appledore Shipyard is now behind an equally ambitious plan to bring hydrogen-powered aircraft and boats to the UK.
Connor Johnson, director of Patriot Yachts, says he has been in talks with firms in the USA, Serbia and Turkey, each working at the cutting-edge of hydrogen propulsion technology.
He said the plan is to ship passenger ferries built by Turkish firm ARC Solar Yachts to Britain and then convert them to contain hydrogen tanks.
The next step would be to trial the two vessels, 19m and 12m in length as water taxis running between Bristol and Cardiff.
“They will be coming over in the next eight weeks,” Mr Johnson said. “We have one design done already and are in the process of putting the hydrogen (technology) together for the engines.”
He said the larger of the two catamarans would contain 52 passengers, with the smaller one holding 42 people.
“We are going to run them as water taxis from Cardiff to Bristol,” he said.
Hydrogen propulsion works by reacting the gas with oxygen in a fuel cell to run electric motors. It is seen as a green and efficient form of energy.
While hydrogen fuel cells are not suitable for large, long-distance ships, they are being considered for smaller, short-distance, electric vessels, such as ferries.
Mr Johnson said Patriot Yachts had been working with Florida-based Triton Subs, and added: “This company manufactures subs for filming and pleasure craft. We will be designing a new hydrogen propulsion version with them through Patriot Yachts.”
He said the hydrogen tanks and fuel cells would then be fitted into the ARC Solar Yachts ferries ready for the trials between Cardiff and Bristol.
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