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UC San Diego selects naval architect to design hydrogen-powered research vessel
© UC San Diego & Glosten
UC San Diego selects naval architect to design hydrogen-powered research vessel
© UC San Diego & Glosten

UC San Diego selects naval architect to design hydrogen-powered research vessel

The University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography has selected a naval architect to design its anticipated hybrid-hydrogen research vessel.

With the selection, Seattle-based Glosten will provide preliminary design, contract design, and detailed design for the research vessel to be operated by Scripps Oceanography.

H2 View understands, the vessel will feature an innovative hybrid propulsion system, integrating hydrogen fuel cells alongside a conventional diesel-electric power plant, which according to UC San Diego will enable zero emissions operations.

In 2021, California legislators allocated $35m to develop the planned 125-foot coastal research vessel.

Read more: New hydrogen-powered coastal research vessel under development in California

UC San Diego has also said, the design is scaled so the ship will be able to operate 75% of its missions entirely on hydrogen. With longer missions utilising extra power from the modern diesel generators.

Bruce Applegate, Associate Director and Head of Ship Operations at Scripps Oceanography, said, “This vessel will be the first of its kind, and the selection of the naval architect is a major milestone for Scripps.

“Fundamentally, our ships have to be reliable and capable in order to support the innovative research our scientists conduct at sea. On top of that, the ship we envision needs to demonstrate that zero emission power systems work effectively under demanding real-world conditions.

“It’s the job of the naval architect to provide the necessary engineering, design, and integration skills needed for this project to succeed on every level.”

Set to be used as part of the University’s educational mission to train the next generation of scientists, leaders, and policymakers, the hydrogen-powered vessel also forms part of the University of California’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative with the goal to be carbon neutral by 2025.

The basic design is expected to be completed within a year. Following approval from the US Coast Guard, the university will select a shipyard, where it is estimated detailed design and construction will take an additional three years.

Offering support for the project, Liane Randolph, Chair of the California Air Resources Board, said, “Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s hydrogen-hybrid coastal research vessel is a significant demonstration of California’s commitment to fighting climate change, decarbonising our blue economy, and improving air quality for port-adjacent disadvantaged communities. The selection of a naval architect is an important step in bringing this innovative project to reality.”

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