California-based Zero Emission Industries (ZEI) has received a grant of $2m from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to outline, build and test a new hydrogen fuel cell powered boating vessel.

ZEI will work with the University of California Irvine, Ocean5 Naval Architects and Watershed Innovation for the creation and inclusion of the functionally diverse, zero-emission powertrain.

The powertrain will include a hydrogen storage system, power system, fuel cell package, control and automation system and safety system.

With no emissions, the powertrain is expected to have low maintenance costs and an increased range.

ZEI CEO Dr Joseph W Pratt said: “I’m proud of our team, thankful to our partners Ocean5, UC Irvine and Watershed Innovation, and appreciate the trust given to us by the state to bring another innovative hydrogen-powered marine vessel to reality. This project exemplifies our approach at ZEI, which is to solve difficult challenges with hydrogen in ways that make it accessible for everyone.”

The funds will be used for the installation of ZEI’s portable refuelling infrastructure.

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ZEI noted that this will resolve the issue of refuelling small boats in a secure and economical manner.

Watershed Innovation is working with ZEI on the boat hull, which is set to be repowered with hydrogen.

The Advanced Power and Energy Programme at the University of California Irvine will collect and process the project data to evaluate the performance and use of the hydrogen systems.

In addition, Ocean5 Naval Architects will use different tools related to vessel design, surfacing, hydrostatic analysis and 3D modelling for design purposes.

The Los Angeles-based utility firm SoCalGas has also contributed nearly $200,000 for the execution of the project.

Previously known as Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine, ZEI is a start-up that works on hydrogen technology.

ZEI has also worked on the Water-Go-Round ferry, which is claimed to be the first commercial hydrogen fuel cell vessel in the US.

The construction of this vessel has finished and sea trials are set to commence this year.