Air Products hydrogen representatives joined Assistant Bristol Mayor, Councillor Gus Hoyt, and Bristol Hydrogen Boats at an event yesterday to celebrate the UK’s first successful hydrogen-powered ferry project.

Air Products, the leading supplier of hydrogen fuelling/re-fuelling equipment and infrastructure in the UK, supplies the ferry with SmartFuel® hydrogen and a dockside refuelling station in Bristol harbour.

The ferry, named ‘Hydrogenesis’, took its first pilot voyage in Bristol harbor in August 2012 and from March this year, the 11m (36ft) 12-seat vessel began offering a commercial ferry service to residents, commuters and tourists in Bristol.

The innovative hydrogen-powered ferry produces zero carbon emissions at the point of use; the only waste product is water. The fuel cell is also virtually silent, with none of the moving parts of a combustion engine, meaning it will reduce noise in the harbour. If rolled out at scale, this project demonstrates that hydrogen fuel cell ferries and boats have the power to de-carbonise the harbour, reducing air, water and noise pollution.

Speaking at the event to celebrate the project’s success, Emma Guthrie, Business Development Manager, Hydrogen Energy Systems Air Products said, “The Hydrogenesis ferry is a genuine example of how hydrogen can be used to power a transport vehicle in a green and efficient way. Air Products is providing both the SmartFuel® hydrogen and the fuelling station for this project since it is these kinds of innovative ideas we consider to be important in getting the general public, industry and Government to take notice of hydrogen and the contribution it could make to cutting air pollution. If the UK is to cut emissions from transport then hydrogen must be part of the future transport mix.”

The ferry project is operated by Bristol Hydrogen Boats, a consortium formed between the directors of Number Seven Boat Trips, the Bristol Packet and Auriga Energy, which developed the fuel cell system.

Jas Singh, Managing Director of Auriga Energy Ltd and spokesperson for the consortium, said, “With the arrival of the heat wave, the prize winning Hydrogenesis has been demonstrated to operate in all weather conditions showing the viability of the new zero-emission fuel cell technologies in marine transport operations.  The project has put Bristol on the world map amongst the pioneers of the emerging hydrogen economy.  We look forward to showcasing the Hydrogenesis at the harbour festival and through the holiday period.”

The funding was provided by Bristol City Council as part of its Green Capital initiatives. 

Councillor Gus Hoyt, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Environment, Neighbourhoods and Council Housing, said, “The commissioning of this pilot ferry service is an exciting first for the city. We continue to achieve international recognition for our innovative approach to making Bristol more environmentally-friendly.

“It will showcase to Bristol, the UK and the world, the benefits of a technology that produces zero emissions. It is in line with the Mayor’s vision of Bristol as a ‘Laboratory for Change’ - with the city developing pioneering practices that will not only benefit Bristol, but will hopefully become a model for cities around the world.”