UK Consortium Develops a Hydrogen-Powered Outboard

Courtesy Cox Marine

Published Dec 6, 2021 3:35 PM by The Maritime Executive

The British diesel-outboard builder Cox Marine is partnering up with the University of Brighton to convert one of the company's diesel outboards to operate as a dual fuel hydrogen engine, the company announced Monday. 

The conversion and demonstration are part of the Shipping, Hydrogen & Port Ecosystems UK (SHAPE UK) project, which aims to demonstrate an green hydrogen generation system within Portsmouth International Port (PIP). The SHAPE project will test out the viability of local green hydrogen infrastructure for maritime through the installation and testing of a modular electrolyzer. The dual-fuel outboard will serve as a fuel end user for the test.

The project also includes the creation of a digital twin of the port infrastructure, along with a comprehensive assessment of the regulatory environment for hydrogen as a marine fuel. This will help determine the locations where the fuel could be deployed immediately and where changes to regulation might be required. 

"I see the development of effective and useable hydrogen-based marine propulsion systems as essential if we are to drive down emissions while continuing to provide essential transportation systems," said Tim Routsis, CEO of Cox Powertrain. "This is an area where the UK is excellently placed to develop the technologies and infrastructure which will both reduce pollutants and give birth to a vibrant new UK-based economic sector.”

The SHAPE UK project is run by Engas Global Ltd. and the University of Portsmouth. Engas will operate the electrolyzer and associated compression equipment, and University of Portsmouth's faculty will provide technical expertise. The project is backed by a $2 million grant from the UK government.