Hydrogen-fuelled passenger vessel could spearhead clean transport revolution

Hydroville will transport CMB employees between Kruibeke and Antwerp during the rush hour, to avoid the traffic jams
'Hydroville' will transport CMB employees between Kruibeke and Antwerp during the rush hour, to avoid the traffic jams
The company opted for combustion engines because it believes that batteries or fuel cells are less suitable for heavy transport
The company opted for combustion engines because it believes that batteries or fuel cells are less suitable for heavy transport
'Hydroville' features a full custom installation of twelve 200Bar Hydrogen tanks along with associated valves, pipework, safety measures and monitoring systems
'Hydroville' features a full custom installation of twelve 200Bar Hydrogen tanks along with associated valves, pipework, safety measures and monitoring systems
'Hydroville' is the World’s first Class approved passenger vessel to burn Hydrogen in its propulsion engines
'Hydroville' is the World’s first Class approved passenger vessel to burn Hydrogen in its propulsion engines
Industry Database

‘Hydroville’ is a custom designed and built 14m high speed displacement catamaran and, according to its builders, BWSeaCat, is the first vessel in the world to be passed by a class society to operate with passengers using Hydrogen fuel in her propulsion engines, the burning of which produces no CO2, particulate matter or sulphur oxides.

Built by Portchester UK based BWSeaCat Ltd for owners CMB Technologies of Antwerp Belgium, using a Hydrogen system supplied and installed by Revolve of Essex UK and in close collaboration with Lloyds, Belgian Flag, Air Liquide and Naval Architect Steven Lee, the vessel was launched in  November 2017 and was blessed at a ceremony at the Royal Yacht Club of Belgium alongside the banks of the river Schelde in Antwerp on the 29th November 2017.

Based on a hull form originally designed by BWSeaCat Ltd Managing Director Iain Worrallo, by working closely with Naval Architect Steven Lee, the small five-man production team at BWSeaCat were able to adapt the hull’s internal layout and structural characteristics to accommodate the necessary components of such an innovative craft and to produce a fully custom made superstructure in keeping with the design ethos.

With the close cooperation of Lloyds register, the team were also able to satisfy the construction and safety standards required to enable Hydroville to become the World’s first Class approved passenger vessel to burn Hydrogen in its propulsion engines.

Featuring a full custom installation of twelve 200Bar Hydrogen tanks along with associated valves, pipework, safety measures and monitoring systems, the vessel is capable of 25Kn sprint speed and 18 to 20Kn service speeds from twin 300hp engines at her full displacement of 14000kg.

Comfort for her 16 passengers is provided by flip-up seats arranged in opposing banks of two with tables between, air conditioning, blown air heating, electric flushing toilet and a small galley.

The vessel is to be used as a test bed for the development of Hydrogen as a dual fuel in marine propulsion applications and also as a proof of concept for the long-term vision of CMB Technologies.

This vision is to substitute the use of diesel for Hydrogen in the onboard auxiliary engines and generators of the large fleet of ships owned and run by CMB worldwide, with the associated massive reduction in atmospheric pollution that this will bring about.

In order to demonstrate the viability of this innovative technology and the utilisation of Hydrogen, which is currently wasted as a by-product of industry, as a practical and safe alternative to accepted Hydrocarbon fuels, Hydroville will be used to transport CMB employees and others from various pick up and drop off points along the river Schelde.  Not only will this provide a convenient and useful service, but will also serve to further reduce congestion and pollution locally by removing a large number of car journeys, while at the same time, the vessel itself will produce the absolute minimum of harmful emissions.

The small team at BWSeaCat Ltd are extremely proud of the vessel they have built, as Managing Director Iain Worrallo explains: “From my initial contact with Roy Campe of CMB in a telephone call one afternoon in September 2016, there was just something about the unconventional nature of this project that appealed to me and I knew that if any company would be able to produce such a vessel, it would be BWSeaCat Ltd.”

“Over the years we have carved a name for ourselves within the small commercial vessel sector of the marine industry and gained a reputation for the seakeeping ability of our hull form and the extremely high levels of fit and finish of which we are capable, coupled with our increasing ability to embrace design complexity and technical innovation within our projects.”

“This reputation is gradually extending further afield and due to the nature of the internet and in particular the use of social media for businesses to spread their message, we are finding that we are able to more easily engage with clients both here in the UK and increasingly abroad.”

“Make no mistake, for a small company such as ours to win a high profile international order such as this is a massive deal for us and speaks volumes for the ability of UK businesses to compete in the global market.  The UK is well known for innovation and a ‘Can do’ attitude and this proves that in spades.”

“The use of Hydrogen in a fully classed vessel is a World first and for us to be involved with that is amazing.”

“CMB technologies should be commended for their forward-thinking attitude and for their courage in investing in new ideas.  We at BWSeaCat Ltd wish them every success with Hydroville and look forward to where the ideas created and shared during this project may take us as a company in the future.”

Visit BWSeaCat at Seawork International 2018 on stand VA42.

By Jake Frith

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