First hydrogen-powered ferry is ready to sail in the US

hydrogen ferry US

After spending more than five years in development, the first hydrogen-powered ferry in the US is set to sail in San Francisco early next year.

This vessel, bearing the name of Sea Change, will soon be joined by others. The owner of the ferry says it is already looking to deploy more hydrogen ferries in the US to replace old, polluting ones. No fewer than 800 ferries are currently sailing over the US waterways. The market for decarbonisation is thus wide open. All the more since the California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted a rule last year requiring all short-run ferries in the state to be zero-emissions by the end of 2025.

The startup which built the ship, SWITCH Maritime LLC, has recently raised $10 million. The round was led by Nexus Development Capital which seeks to expedite the development of low-carbon projects across America. To do so, they secured a $50M capital infusion to fund more companies developing low-carbon solutions. Their first step was to fund SWITCH Maritime’s Sea Change, the first hydrogen ferry in US history.

Zoom in on the first hydrogen-powered ferry in the US

While this 75-passenger ferry is primarily driven by fuel cells, it also carries a 100 kWh lithium-ion battery as an additional power system. There is one damper though. As long as green hydrogen supplies remain insufficient in the area, the vessel will be propelled by conventional hydrogen, i.e produced from fossil gas. This is why developing a hydrogen infrastructure (hurriedly) remains an essential part of the decarbonisation equation.

Do you want to learn more about hydrogen ferries and boats? Then our latest 2 articles on the subject should interest you. You can read them here and there

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About the author

Picture of Logan King

Logan King

After an unusual career (3 years in the French army followed by a 3-year degree in Applied Foreign Languages), it was my passion for environmental issues that finally caught up with me and led me to join Seiya Consulting and H2 Today in June 2022. First as an end-of-study internship, then as Marketing & Communication Manager and translator at Hydrogen Today.

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