Hydrogen-fueled research vessel will be built to ABS Class

Written by Marine Log Staff
hydrogen-fueled research vessel

Proposed conceptual rendering hydrogen-fueled research vessel [Image courtesy of Glosten]

A hydrogen-fueled research vessel commissioned by the University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography in August last year will be built to ABS Class.

California legislators allocated $35 million towards the design and construction of the vessel. When completed, the vessel will serve as a platform for education and research dedicated to understanding the California coast and climate change impacts to the coastal ecosystem.

Designed by naval architect firm Glosten, the vessel will feature a new hydrogen-hybrid propulsion system that integrates hydrogen fuel cells alongside a conventional diesel-electric power plant, enabling zero-emission operations. The design is scaled so the ship will be able to operate 75% of its missions entirely using hydrogen. For longer missions, extra power will be provided by diesel generators.

The 150-foot hydrogen-fueled research vessel will be equipped with advanced instruments and sensing systems, along with state-of-the-art laboratories, enabling multidisciplinary research, advancing understanding of the physical and biological processes active in California’s coastal oceans.

The anticipated schedule for design and construction of the hydrogen-hybrid research vessel includes one year to complete the basic design. Following U.S. Coast Guard approval of the design, the university will select the shipyard where the design will be constructed. Construction and detail design will likely take an additional three years.

“ABS is proud to pioneer the development of hydrogen as marine fuel technology with these partners in a project that has the potential to make a significant contribution to the understanding of our oceans. This project will be closely watched by the industry as it breaks new ground and demonstrates the capabilities of this promising alternative fuel at sea,” said Christopher J. Wiernicki, ABS chairman, president and CEO.

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