China recently launched its first hydrogen-powered ship, which will serve as a demonstration of the technology and support the development of the country’s fuel cell programs. The ship named Three Gorges Hydrogen Boat 1will be deployed in the inland area around the Three Gorges Dam, following China’s largest electric vessel, which was also launched last year as a demonstration vessel to operate in the same region.
The construction of the hydrogen tank started on May 17, 2022. The design was developed by the Wuhan Changjiang Ship Design Institute, which works according to international standards. The ship was classified by the China Classification Society and built by Jianglong Shipbuilding. The launch took place on March 17 in Guangdong.
The ship is 164 feet long and 33 feet wide. The hull of the catamaran is made of steel with an aluminum superstructure. Power is supplied by a 500kW hydrogen fuel cell working in conjunction with a 1,800kWh lithium battery system. Speed was quoted as 17 mph with a maximum range of 124 miles. Chinese media are calling it the world’s largest completed hydrogen ship to date. In addition to the emission-free operation, they also highlight the reduced noise level during operation.
The catamaran ship was recently launched in China
The ship is operated by the China Yangtze Power Company. According to the Global Times, it will initially be used for transport purposes, as well as patrolling the waters between the Three Gorges Dam and Gezhouba Dam and the Three Gorges Reservoir. The Chinese classification society expects to provide important data that will support the eventual development of hydrogen fuel cells. According to reports, the fuel cell market in China is growing rapidly and could reach US$1.45 billion in the next few years.
To support ship operations and the development of hydrogen propulsion for barges, the Three Gorges Group is investing in the construction of land-based hydrogen bunker stations, according to the China Classification Society.
In early 2022, the Three Gorges Group also took over what is said to be the largest battery-powered river cruise ship in the world. After the tests, the report said the ship would be used for cruises along the Yangtze River in central China. They also built a network of electric charging stations along the river to support the growth of battery-powered vessels along China’s inland waterways.
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