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Hydrogen Is the Ideal Zero-Emissions Fuel, Part 2
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Hydrogen Is the Ideal Zero-Emissions Fuel, Part 2

October 12 ------ There are three means of using hydrogen for production: the direct combustion in an engine to drive the propellers directly or a diesel-electric drive train, the combustion to power a steam turbine, and the use of a fuel cell. All have been successfully tested, and all have proponents who preach their virtues, Kennedy pointed out.  “For larger vessels,” Kennedy continues,” the most suitable combination of technologies today would be a steam turbine for propulsion, a large-scale hydrogen engine, and a fuel cell for auxiliary power (so the turbines and engines do not need to be turning when the vessel is stationary).”  But there is rapid development occurring in the fuel cell sector, he added.  “It is quite possible that in the future this will become a standard for propulsion as well in a fuel cell electric or hybrid electric drive.”

Commenting on whether combustion engines powered by hydrogen are a better solution than batteries or fuel cells, Kennedy said different methods have different advantages.  “A fuel cell on a luxury yacht would be quieter; but an internal combustion engine might be more efficient and lower cost; and a turbine generator may prove to be more reliable with longer life and less maintenance required.”  In conclusion, Kennedy forecasts that many vessels will wind up using a combination of different hydrogen-powered technologies with batteries alongside as an energy buffer.

Joi Scientific has discovered a new method to produce hydrogen, called Hydrogen 2.0, that is on-demand, eliminating the storage problem. Namely, hydrogen is generated directly from seawater as needed. It is extracted at room temperature and without pressure. What is more, there is no need for shore-based infrastructure is required because the hydrogen is generated on-board.  “Since the fuel-stock for the on-demand production of our hydrogen system is from untreated seawater, maritime applications are an ideal starting point for bringing Hydrogen 2.0 technology to market,” he pointed out.  “What will make the most impact is a low-cost source of hydrogen where no storage is required. We believe that Joi Scientific has an answer to that.”

At the end of September, Joi Scientific announced that it had signed its first license agreement for its Hydrogen 2.0 production technology with MarineMax, the world’s largest boat and yacht retailer.  The license agreement grants MarineMax the exclusive rights to develop, manufacture, and sell propulsion and auxiliary boat power systems capable of running on hydrogen using Joi Scientific’s technology.  “Together with MarineMax we will work with co-development partners across the industry to bring hydrogen-based energy solutions to leading vendors in the marine industry,” Kennedy pointed out, adding that the advantage of Hydrogen 2.0 technology is that it is a modular system.

“Units can be scaled to the amount of energy required by each vessel’s design and application. As a result, we intend to apply it in ships of all sizes and tonnage. Hydrogen system components can be used in multiples to provide a volume of hydrogen gas required for various applications throughout the ship, whether propulsion, auxiliary or shore power.    “For large ships, the design and packaging of the components can be sized for peak energy utilization or can be sized to generate a continuous flow of hydrogen in which storage of hydrogen or electric power can be done during the cruise. In this manner, the stored energy can be used during times when acceleration is required. We realize that this approach appears to be counterintuitive. But think about it: your energy on-board is already topped up when you arrive in port rather than the other way around. There is no reason why the biggest oil tankers cannot be hydrogen-powered in the future, although that might be a little ironic.”