A zero-emission hydrogen-powered canal boat has been developed by engineers at Birmingham University.
A zero emission hydrogen-powered canal boat has been developed by engineers at Birmingham University.
The ‘Ross Barlow’ has been created by converting a standard maintenance boat which was donated to the university by British Waterways. The diesel engine has been removed and replaced by a zero emission fuel-cell propulsion system, and the central part of the boat has been converted into a covered demonstration area.
The hydrogen is stored on board in a large scale metal hydride storage system which was developed by the Birmingham group with Swiss collaborators at EMPA Laboratories in Zurich. This provides an effective means of storing large amounts of hydrogen at room temperature and at a modest pressure (around 10 bar).
The hydrogen is released from the hydride by decreasing the pressure, providing the fuel cell with a pure source of hydrogen.
Longer term aims of the project include the development of a canal side hydrogen refuelling infrastructure that would allow hydrogen to be generated on suitable sites throughout the canal network.