Home » Sport as a Source of Innovation: the Hydrogen H2C Case

Sport as a Source of Innovation: the Hydrogen H2C Case

by xBJ1R439wX

It will be hard to forget this new chapter written by the sailing community, motivated by the need to focus on zero emissions also in the field of sports sailing.

It all stems from a series of reports and research, ready to demonstrate that the emissions of the fuel used in World Sailing events represent almost 30% of its overall carbon footprint. A news that immediately alarmed the entire sector, which is ready to drastically reduce the number of boats powered by fossil fuels by 2025, focusing on the presence of only zero-emission coach boats by 2030.

And it is no coincidence that we are talking about coach boats, given the confirmation of the introduction of the first hydrogen-powered boat that will take to the water during the 2023 Sailing World Championships.

Combustion outboards are less regulated and less efficient than modern cars, according to the 2016 ECG report. Something that pushes the sailing community to move towards electric mobility.

2023 Sailing World Championships: the zero-emission Coach Boat is here

The first concept dates back to 2018, thanks to the idea of Jaap Zielhuis, the Dutch Olympic sailing coach who was sailing in Denmark at the time. But the actual implementation only came during the current year. And finally we can say that this will be a summer to remember and admire!

As recently announced during the 2023 Sailing World Championships in The Hague, it will be possible to see a zero-emission coach boat powered by hydrogen and which features a Torqeedo Deep Blue electric motor.

This is a unique goal, because it will be the first time ever that a coach boat will present itself with these characteristics, thanks to the Dutch sailing organization Watersportverbond.

Let’s take a trip inside this boat to understand how it will present itself to the eyes of enthusiasts and onlookers!

On board of the H2C

The H2C at work at its first regattas.

One thing is certain: for this edition of the World Cup, the Dutch athletes will have no problem hearing their coaches in the water, as the H2C boat comes without any deafening combustion engine sounds.

The coach boat sails in great silence, respecting the environment and manages to offer a maximum speed of 45 km/h without emissions.

The project was born from the Dutch start-up H2 Marine Solutions, made of a consortium of innovative companies, including De Stille Boot, which is a historical partner of Torqeedo. That’s why the leading company in electric solutions for the sector decided to participate with the energy management system of the powerful Deep Blue 50 R outboard engine including a Deep Blue 40 lithium-ion battery.

In addition to the battery capacity of 40 kWh, it also boasts an additional hydrogen (H2) capacity of 51 kWh. That means its onboard fuel cell extracts electrical energy from hydrogen, feeding it to the battery and electric motor that drives the vessel.

An important turning point for sailing and for the nautical sector

If we think about the history of sports sailing, it’s easy to recall that for decades, many sailors and enthusiasts have been used to dealing with noisy dinghies in the water, powered by fossil fuels and ready to drag elegant yachts. All this, multiplied by at least a hundred boats in the water, gives an idea of the type of pollution that has been caused over the years.

This is why the project supported by the Dutch pioneers of electric boating De Stille Boot is destined to change history: sailing is an activity characterized by nature, waves and wind. Taking advantage of the time in the water and the dynamism of the boats through electric motors is the ideal key to also ensure clean energy.

“We’ve long recognized the potential of hydrogen and its high energy density,and we’re excited to bring the benefits of electrification to larger and faster boats by leveraging that potential,” explained Fabian Bez, CEO of Torqeedo.

A task force at the service of the electric future

Can sport go beyond its borders and provide innovative solutions capable of stimulating the culture of electric sailing as well? At present, as we know, fuel cell technology in the marine sector is still a work in progress.

First of all, we must try to reduce costs and create an infrastructure for hydrogen, in order to ensure the supply in industrial environments.

The first important steps in this direction are those of Zephyr, which wants to demonstrate the benefits of a green hydrogen chain in the maritime sector in the Netherlands. A project that would thus help to generate green energy to be used for application in boats.

The H2C refills its hydrogen tanks at the enabled refueling station.

It is clear that technologies tailored to specific applications are needed in order to move to a post-carbon era. This includes powerful renewable energy batteries, onboard solar and hydrogen generation. But also fuel cells or generators powered by zero-emission liquid fuels. That’s why Torqeedo has designed its electric drive systems to be adaptable.

“You can always integrate new energy storage devices into the boat’s electric powertrain and energy management system. As soon as a new technology is ready for the market, our system will be ready to incorporate it,” explained Bez of Torqeedo.

Undoubtedly there are still many questions with respect to this topic and it’s certain that the World Cup in The Hague will be an important springboard for overcoming the next challenge.