Bramble Energy demonstrates hydrogen fuel cell powered narrowboat

In a claimed world first, UK hydrogen fuel cell startup Bramble Energy has developed and tested a marinised version of its innovative Printed Circuit Board Fuel Cell (PCBFC) technology aboard a narrowboat.

The 57ft fuel cell powered boat, which has completed a series of trials on UK waterways, was developed in partnership with custom engine builder Barras through the HyTime project, an initiative which was funded by the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund.

The fuel cell system has the potential to provide the vessel with approximately 600 miles of range using the 14kg of hydrogen stored on-board, as well as additional power being supplied from solar panels on the boat’s roof to the 22kWh battery system. According to Bramble, the powertrain technology developed for the boat could save 12 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The system is based on Bramble’s innovative approach to designing and producing fuel cells which uses existing manufacturing facilities in the PCB industry to significantly reduce the cost of the technology.

Commenting on this latest demonstration Dr Tom Mason, co-founder and CEO of Bramble Energy said: “Our solution has the ability to meet a range of power needs and is easily scalable, which is the exact catalyst the industry needs to make a seamless shift to hydrogen to quickly meet emissions regulations and contribute to greener and cleaner waterways.”

The Bramble team will now analyse the boat’s data along with vital information about the fuel cell’s performance under real-world conditions. This analysis will support the future development of PCBFC systems for wider maritime applications.