Uber Boats by Thames Clippers
The operator aims to transition from diesel engines to vessels that use hydrogen fuel cell, batteries and electric motors
London-based ferry operator Uber Boat by Thames Clippers has been awarded Department for Transport funding to support three projects to research and develop green river transport.
Uber Boat by Thames Clippers applied for the funding in collaboration with its partners through the Innovate UK Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition. The three projects will focus on new power and propulsion technologies and emissions-reducing solutions.
“We believe strongly in protecting and preserving the River Thames and the communities close to the river,” said Geoff Symonds, chief operating officer for Uber Boat by Thames Clipper. “This means moving as fast as the technology will allow us to viably move away from diesel-powered vessels. This funding from the Department for Transport, via Innovate UK, allows us to accelerate our development of a more sustainable future for Uber Boat by Thames Clippers, as well as for a greener marine future for the industry. We are proud to have secured this investment and excited to be working alongside specialists in the relevant fields to continue to drive innovation within the sector.”
The first project will be a study of the feasibility of integrating fuel cell electric drive systems into the catamaran platform for new vessels and retrofitting existing vessels where possible. The study will analyse three fuel types – compressed hydrogen gas, liquid hydrogen and methanol – to inform future choices on how to power the fleet. On this project Uber Boat by Thames Clippers is supported by Mayfair Marine as a hydrogen marine consultant, classification society DNV for regulatory support and catamaran designers One2three Naval Architects.
A second project will aim to position the UK to deliver intelligent electric propulsion and power solutions and support the UK maritime industry in meeting the UK Government’s Net Zero 2050 initiative. In collaboration with BAE Systems, Beckett Rankine and Wight Shipyard Company, the feasibility study will look at the relationship between power demand, duty cycle and vessel optimisation for more efficient vessel operation. It will help to develop a plan for a future prototype vessel that provides operational data to show economic and technological feasibility to achieve net zero by 2050.
Finally, the third project, titled Project Hydrogen and Oxygen South Thames (HOST), will aim to enable Uber Boat by Thames Clippers to transition from diesel engines to vessels that use hydrogen fuel cell, batteries and electric motors over the next 10 years. Project HOST, working alongside Arup, Shell, the National Grid and Wight Shipyard Company, will accelerate the deployment of other vessels and modes of transport switching to hydrogen. This will include the development of new technology, supply chains, skills and partnerships, and the project is intended to provide a model for other hydrogen maritime projects to follow in the future.
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