Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine (GGZEM), a company on a mission to eliminate maritime pollution, in collaboration with partners, has been awarded a $3m grant by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to build the first hydrogen (H2) fuel cell vessel in the US.

Providing a solution to a $330bn global maritime pollution problem, the zero-emission vessel will be the first of its kind in the US and the first commercial fuel cell ferry in the world.

Expected to be launched in mid-2019, the vessel will be named Water-Go-Round, a light-hearted nod that speaks to the cyclical nature of how the technology works. Simply put, H2 can be created from water and after being used in a fuel cell, becomes water again. Since water is the only byproduct of the power system, widespread adoption of this technology for shipping will achieve drastic reductions of pollutants and greenhouse gases.

GGZEM’s CEO Dr. Joseph W. Pratt enthused, “Together, with our partners, we will show our communities there is a long-term solution to meeting the drastic cuts in pollution and greenhouse gases required by states like California and other governments around the globe.”

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Source: Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine

Funding for the CARB grant comes from California Climate Investments, a statewide programme that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) is administering the project, alongside other partners including Bay Ship & Yacht Co., BAE Systems, Hydrogenics, Red and White Fleet, Incat Crowther, Hexagon Composites, OMB-Saleri, the Port of San Francisco, and Sandia National Laboratories.

The 70ft aluminium catamaran, designed by Incat Crowther, has a 22-knot top speed and will be built by Bay Ship & Yacht Co. of Alameda. It will highlight the advantages of H2 fuel cells for the commercial maritime sector.

The vessel is powered by dual 300kW electric motors using independent electric drivetrains from BAE Systems. Power is generated by 360kW of Hydrogenics proton exchange membrane fuel cells and Li-ion battery packs. H2 tanks from Hexagon Composites, with valves and hardware from OMB-Saleri, are installed on the upper deck, and contain enough H2 to go up to two days between refuellings. GGZEM’s ‘zero infrastructure’ flexible fuelling arrangement allows the Water-Go-Round to be fuelled anywhere with truck access.

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Source: Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine

After the vessel is launched it will be operated for three months in San Francisco Bay. During this period Sandia National Laboratories will independently gather and assess performance data. CARB will use the real-world data to verify the suitability of the technology for marine use. The partners will also collect feedback from passengers and operators to assess the best commercial markets.

Red and White Fleet will operate the multi-purpose vessel for the demonstration and plans to purchase the ‘Water-Go-Round’ as the first of several vessels with GGZEM integrated powertrains in order to meet its commitment to a 100% zero emission operation.

About Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine

Launched in 2017, the Bay Area company is a full service provider oof marine power systems that are clean and quiet, comply with all current and future environmental regulations, meet rising customer demand for sustainable systems, and reduce total cost of vessel ownership.

GGZEM’s mission is to bring the benefits of zero emission H2 fuel cell technology to businesses and the planet.