Hydrogen-powered chase boats to race in the 37th America’s Cup
© Emirates Team New Zealand

Hydrogen-powered chase boats to race in the 37th America’s Cup

Emirates Team New Zealand will drive hydrogen-powered chase boats in the 37th America’s Cup to highlight new and clean technology in the marine industry – and it could be the first of many hydrogen-powered boats for the race.

The team today (June 8) said it has been working with AFCryo, a Christchurch-based innovative company, on the development of the vessel that is set to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels across the event.

Read more: CPH2 and AFCryo are combining technologies to offer cheaper green hydrogen

Designers on the Emirates Team New Zealand are currently working on a prototype hydrogen powered foiling chase boat, to be built at the team’s North Shore build facility, capable of standing up to the demands of supporting an AC75 throughout all aspects of an America’s Cup campaign.

Once launched and verified, it could be possible that the Protocol for the 37th America’s Cup will contain a provision that all teams must use hydrogen-powered support boats. This would also apply to the 20+ event and race support boats.

Commenting on the team’s efforts, Grant Dalton, CEO of the Emirates Team New Zealand, said, “Emirates Team New Zealand continues to be at the forefront of innovation, and we intend to really drive the development curve of new and clean technology in the marine industry.

“It is our hope that we can make a seismic shift into hydrogen power and an emission free statement for the industry. This initiative is not without risk as we have very specific operating criteria within the team and the America’s Cup, so it is not a small undertaking.”

Huge Reynold, Technical Director at AFCryo, added, “As an organisation we have been working in cryogenics, and clean-tech solutions, for 17 years. We are a strong proponent of green hydrogen and are manufacturing hydrogen production systems in New Zealand.

“It is exciting to work with Emirates Team New Zealand on such an aggressive development curve and timeline to deliver on water hydrogen storage and power. The opportunity to contribute to such an exciting project aligns perfectly with our view of sustainable future energy.”

INEOS TEAM UK and Challenger of Record Team Principal Skipper Sir Ben Ainslie is behind the push into hydrogen power on the water. Welcoming the clean fuel to the race, he commented, “For nearly two centuries the America’s Cup has pushed the boundaries in design and engineering, whilst ensuring innovation benefits the wider marine industry.

“With so much investment in hydrogen across the world, shifting to foiling chase boats, powered by hydrogen could well prove to be a sustainable and practical solution for the future of the marine industry, while supporting the AC75’s which are reaching speeds in excess of 50 knots.”

Pillars of Progress: Mobility – Maritime hydrogen, the next big wave

The maritime sector includes activities as varied as cruise-boat tourism, freight shipping and ferry transport. It’s also a big contributor of CO2 emissions.

The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH2 JU) is promoting research to develop and integrate efficient hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuel cells on ships and boats.

The results could help to slash CO2 emissions by a minimum of 50% by 2050 – which is the target defined by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

Continue reading here.

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