Illustration of the towboat Hydrogen One (Source: Elliott Bay Design Group )

World’s first towboat fuelled by methanol to be commissioned in 2023

A towboat designed by Elliott Bay Design Group in the United States and due to be commissioned in 2023 will be powered by a methanol-to hydrogen fuel cell. Hydrogen One will join Maritime Partners’ 1600-vessel fleet equipped with a fuel cell from e1 Marine and an elecrical power and automation system supplied by ABB.

The towboat, which will be available for charter after commissioning, will meet both IMO 2030 targets and US Coast Guard Subchapter M requirements. It will have a range of up to 550 miles (885 km) before refuelling.

ABB Marine & Port’s Dave Lee, senior account manager, said: “The US towboat market is one of the most traditional in the world, so it’s important to recognise what this represents: the first step in a shift from diesel-electric to methanol-electric, and a major advancement towards zero emissions. This philosophy is much more efficient than a traditional towboat, where you need both main engines as well as a generator online at all times.”

Robert Schluter, e1 Marine managing director, commented: “Converting methanol to hydrogen reduces the CO2 output and our reformer technology eliminates the complexities of direct fuelling and storage of gas marine fuels. By producing hydrogen at the point of consumption from a mixture of methanol and water, e1 Marine’s system enables the safe, efficient, and economic use of hydrogen as a marine fuel. The technology is ideal for anything that requires continuous power over extended periods, including workboats and medium-range passenger vessels.”

Article Editorial staff Ship&Offshore
Article Editorial staff Ship&Offshore