Phil Sharp, sailor and engineer, has announced that his renewables work with OceansLab has yielded a hydrogen fuel cell prototype for powering marine vessels. His “HPM” Hydrogen Power Module went on display at the Maritime Transport Efficiency Conference in Geneva last week.
Phil, who we’ve been following and supporting as an ocean racer since 2016, is now based in La Rochelle and has a research partnership with engineering school there, EIGSI, to test the fuel cell prototypes. It’s an important step forward in realizing his ambition of using clean and renewable hydrogen to decarbonize the maritime industry.
There are 53,000 merchant ships worldwide currently plying their trade, creating a higher percentage of the global CO2 emissions than aviation, and 13% / 15% of the world’s other noxious air pollutants, Sulphur Oxides and Nitrogen Oxides. Phil’s fuel cell, by comparison, has zero emissions (the only output of its operation is water, it doesn’t even make a noise!). It’s between 60% & 75% lighter than the latest all-electric lithium battery systems and is typically 2 to 3 times more efficient than marine diesel engines.
“To meet climate change goals,” says Phil, “all new boats and ships built from 2030 must be zero emission vessels, using clean fuels. Fuel cells and hydrogen will play a vital role.”