North America’s first commercial hydrogen fuel cell, zero-emission e-ferry

May 27, 2021

As alternative energy sources promising reduced or net-zero carbon emissions increase in popularity, one old technology is enabling SWITCH Maritime LLC’s (SW/TCH) Water-Go-Round project to accomplish something new in the U.S. — the first-ever commercial hydrogen fuel cell, zero-emission e-ferry called Sea Change.

Once built, the 70’ 84-passenger e-ferry will give passengers in the San Francisco Bay Area another way to commute while reducing road congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. Construction of the e-ferry is funded by SWITCH Maritime, an impact investment platform building the first fleet of zero-emission vessels in North America. The Water-Go-Round project also received a $3 million grant for partial funding from the California Air Resources Board.

The project is supported by Zero Emission Industries, a full-service provider of hydrogen fuel cell power systems, as well as partners like BAE SystemsHexagon Composites, and the Port of San Francisco.

Although using fuel cells in marine propulsion is new, the technology itself has been around for centuries. First invented in 1838 by Sir William Grove, a Welsh physicist, fuel cell technology progressed throughout the 20th century and eventually was incorporated into many different applications. It was used onboard the Apollo 11 mission and can be found in busses and trains today.

Read more here.

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