Maritime News

First US Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vessel to be Completed by All American Marine

All American Marine, Inc. (AAM) has been awarded a contract by SWITCH Maritime (SW/TCH) to complete the aluminum construction and outfitting of a 70’ 84-passenger zero-emissions, hydrogen-powered, electric drive (“e-ferry”) that will operate in the California Bay Area (referred to as the ‘Water-Go-Round’ project).

 Prior to transfer to AAM, the project had begun at Bay Ship & Yacht shipyard in Alameda, CA where the aluminum hull and superstructure had been started. This is the first hydrogen fuel cell vessel in the US, representing a monumental step in the maritime industry’s transition to a sustainable future. The e-ferry is being developed to demonstrate a pathway to commercialization for zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell marine technologies. The e-ferry will exhibit the viability of this marine technology for the commercial and regulatory community.  

2WGRAAM is a leading builder of hybrid-electric vessels in the United States and was chosen to complete this project because of their experience building unique, high-quality vessels. All American Marine’s new shipyard has an expanded capacity and production capabilities for additional, larger and more complex vessels. The construction of this vessel further exemplifies All American’s position as the technological leader in the North American marketplace, and their commitment to manufacturing cutting edge, innovative and custom vessels.  

“Having demonstrated our capabilities by delivering a number of state-of-the-art vessels over the years, AAM was the ideal candidate to complete this vessel. We believe that hydrogen fuel cell technology will prove to be a robust alternative to conventional powertrain technologies,” said Matt Mullett, AAM President & CEO. “AAM is on the leading edge of manufacturing unique vessels with advanced propulsion methods, which is why we are so excited to be a part of this project to complete construction on such a revolutionary vessel.” 

The project is funded by private capital from SW/TCH, an impact investment platform building the first fleet of zero-emissions maritime vessels.  SW/TCH’s mission-driven platform seeks to work with existing ferry operators around the country to provide capital to accelerate their transition to zero emissions, leveraging significant experience from the build of this e-ferry. 

This project is also partially funded by a $3 million grant from the California Air Resources Board, administered by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, that comes from the California Climate Investments initiative, a California statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen the economy, and improve public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities.  

Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine is the provider of the hydrogen fuel cell power package and also serves as technical and regulatory consultants on the project. The vessel will use an onboard set of fuel cells arranged in compact stacks, similar to battery racks, which allows the onboard space to be used efficiently.

The fuel cells turn hydrogen into electricity by injecting hydrogen on one side and by supplying compressed ambient air on the other side of a proton exchange membrane (PEM fuel cell). The hydrogen fuel storage is connected to the fuel cell powertrain, creating electricity to run the propulsion motors and turning the twin fixed-pitch propellers. Fuel cell systems afford the same operational flexibility as diesel with zero emissions and less maintenance.

Hydrogen is the simplest element consisting of only one proton and one electron and is extremely high in energy. Hydrogen as a fuel source is similar to natural gas but does not contain carbon. Hydrogen fuel cells directly convert hydrogen to power with zero emissions.

Hydrogen has been around for decades as a commodity with a proven track record for handling and safe usage in countless commercial and industrial applications. The only byproducts of a fuel cell reaction are electricity and water that is clean enough to drink.

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