The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (Marad) will provide $500,000 to support a feasibility study for the design, construction, and operation of a high-speed passenger ferry powered by hydrogen fuel-cell technology and a hydrogen refueling station. The fuel cell would provide power for the ferry’s propulsion and auxiliary electrical systems, while the hydrogen refueling station — which would be the largest in the world — would service the ferry, electric cars, buses and fleet vehicles, and other maritime vessels powered by fuel cells.

“This study is just one more way in which [Marad] is working to find new and efficient technologies for use in the maritime industry that offer clean-fuel options to cut emissions,” said Maritime Administrator Paul ‘Chip’ Jaenichen. “The U.S. maritime industry can play an important role in reducing the world’s carbon dioxide emissions and creating a more sustainable future for us all.”

Sandia National Laboratories of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will lead the research effort in partnership with Marad. The study will examine the technical, regulatory, and economic aspects of a high-speed hydrogen fuel cell vessel as a clean energy alternative.
This study is part of ongoing work by Marad’s Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance Program (META) and the maritime industry to conduct research, testing, validation and documentation of fuel cells for marine applications.

Marad is also funding an effort to demonstrate a fuel cell for ship auxiliary power for its school ship Kennedy, which is used by Massachusetts Maritime Academy as a training vessel.