British Startup Unveils Its Hydrogen-Powered Autonomous Ship, An Industry First

Acua Ocean claims that its H-USV is the first of its kind in the world 8 photos
Photo: Acua Ocean
Hydrogen-Powered Autonomous VesselHydrogen-Powered Autonomous VesselHydrogen-Powered Autonomous VesselAcua OceanHydrogen-Powered Autonomous VesselHydrogen-Powered Autonomous VesselHydrogen-Powered Autonomous Vessel
At the beginning of this year, a UK-based maritime clean-tech startup was announcing an innovative vessel claiming to be the world’s first drone surface vessel that would be entirely powered by hydrogen (H-USV). Now, Acua Ocean is ready to unveil the H-USV that is a couple of years away from deployment.
It doesn’t have a name yet, but Acua Ocean’s H-USV has the potential to become memorable. Developed by an acclaimed designer in the industry, John Kecsmar of Ad Hoc Marine Designs, this versatile ship could carry out various missions, from environmental data collection to monitoring and security tasks, without any harmful emissions.

According to Acua Ocean, 6,000 liters (1,585 gallons) of liquid hydrogen would ensure its endurance and reliability. This new vessel is designed to travel for up to 40-60 days at 4 knots (4.6 mph/7.4 kph) with a payload capacity of 4,500 kg (9,920 lbs). Using hydrogen instead of conventional fuel will enable the H-USV to reduce CO2 emissions during operations by 99%. In addition to that, it also features the latest technology for features such as data analysis, real-time decision-making, plus threat detection.

The autonomous ship builder also received approval from Lloyd’s Register to implement its hydrogen system, electrical power distribution systems, and control system, on a Maritime Autonomous Surface Ship (MASS).

The prototype systems underwent Factory Acceptance Testing earlier this year, as part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition. This event was funded by the Department for Transport. The startup continued to develop the automation of its onboard hydrogen systems, through a grant called TRIG (Connected Places Catapult Transport Research Innovation Grant).

Acua Ocean plans to kick of Site Acceptance Testing for the prototype in 2023. Swarm demonstrations will follow in 2024, and the first swarms of these hydrogen-powered drone vessels are set to be deployed by 2025.

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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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