NepTech: A gem of hydrogen boats?

NepTech hydrogen boats
NepTech: A gem of hydrogen boats?

NepTech, a young start-up based in Aix-en-Provence, is one of the rising start-ups in the maritime sector and is starting to deliver electric and hydrogen boats. It will be providing an update on its activities at Hyports 2024.

Last February, NepTech was named winner in the “Transport and Decarbonisation” category of the French Blue Tech 2024 Index. This ranking was set up by the French Maritime Cluster. It appears that over 1,200 French start-ups are excelling in their efforts to protect the oceans, decarbonise ships, promote sustainable fishing and aquaculture, and process digital maritime data. The index gives these players greater exposure.

NepTech is a naval design office and innovation laboratory. Its mission is to design river and sea passenger transport ships with electric propulsion (100% batteries – hybrid hydrogen fuel cell + battery) and hybrid propulsion (diesel-electric) capable of carrying 10 to 200 passengers.Its founders are former SeaBubbles employees and have a global approach to carbon neutrality.

Its shuttles almost made it to the Olympics

In the hydrogen industry, we first heard of this company in 2021, when NepTech and EODev won the “Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024 Mobilities” call for innovations in the New Mobilities & Active Mobilities category, “River” section. The project was to provide passenger shuttles equipped with a hydrogen propulsion system on the Seine and in Marseille during the 2024 Olympic Games. But the project did not have the financial support it needed. In addition, the lack of docking stations in Paris and Marseille made the situation more complicated.

Since then, the start-up has pursued other projects. For instance, it has teamed up with Hysilabs (now HSL Technologies) to adapt its Hydrosil liquid hydrogen storage system to sailing.

Hydrogen news in 2024

More recently, NepTech and EDF launched a thesis with ENSAM on hydrogen-powered boats. The aim of the project is to optimise the sizing and management of the fuel cell/battery pairing to support the decarbonisation of the maritime sector.In particular, it should make it possible to identify the optimal technical and economic conditions for sizing the electro-hydrogen propulsion system for 12 to 24 m maritime and river shuttles.

The first two hydrogen-powered ships will be commissioned in September in a French seaside town (name is yet to be announced). These will be port shuttles for public passenger transport.

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Article written by Laurent Meillaud and translated by Mariem Ben Tili

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About the author

Laurent Meillaud

Laurent Meillaud

Freelance automotive journalist and consultant, author as well, focused on technologies and new trends for more than 30 years, convinced that hydrogen is one of the energies for the future.

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