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'Fossil-free' sailor launches clean fuel cell

'Fossil-free' sailor launches clean fuel cell

Tuesday 13 October 2020

'Fossil-free' sailor launches clean fuel cell

Tuesday 13 October 2020

A local sailor, who has won championships and set records while using renewable energies, has launched a 'clean' fuel cell that only produces water as a byproduct.

Phil Sharp hopes the release of the Hydrogen Power Module (HPM) will accelerate the switch to clean fuels in the maritime industry.

It was produced by Genevos, a clean tech spin-off company of Sharp's zero emission racing project ‘Oceans Lab’.

Sharp, who is a Technical Director at Genevos, has been urging the shipping industry to clean up its act for many years, demonstrating the power of green power sources at the helm of his yacht, Imerys Clean Energy.


Pictured: Sharp has won championships and set records while using renewable energies. (Paul Wyeth)

Last year, he announced a bid to join the Imoca Globe Series, a four-year championship that includes two round-the-world races with a 60ft boat powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology, hoping it would inspire others to ditch dirty fuels.

After using hydrogen fuel cells on his boat, Sharp recently launched the HPM, which is described as a “plug-and-play solution to achieving zero emissions power for vessels."

It creates electricity through a reaction involving sustainably-sourced hydrogen. The only by-product is water.


Pictured: The Hydrogen Power Module (HPM) will be available in power outputs ranging from 8kW to 200kW. (Gilles Delacuvellerie)

“Fuel cells and hydrogen will play a vital role in the clean energy transition of this sector,” Sharp said. 

“To meet climate change goals all new boats and ships built from 2030 must be Zero Emission Vessels, using clean fuels. To achieve this, we have to start introducing this innovative technology now to ensure that we can scale up in time.”

Genevos will be producing a series of HPMs with power outputs ranging from 8 to 200 kW and capable of meeting a range of vessel sizes and energy demands. 


Pictured: The HPM has been developed by Genevos, a clean-tech spin-off company of Phil Sharp’s zero-emission racing project ‘Oceans Lab’. (Gilles Delacuvellerie)

Dr Tristan Smith, a specialist in low carbon shipping and Associate Professor at UCL Energy Institute, described zero-emission fuel as an "inevitable future for shipping."

"The industry needs projects and pilots that use technologies such as the Genevos HPM, to kick-start this clean transition," he added.

Sharp travelled to Geneva last week to attend the Maritime Transport Efficiency Conference where the HPM-8 system was on a display.

"It was a fantastic opportunity to be invited to this new international maritime conference focusing on new technologies, energy efficiency, clean fuels, and how to meet the challenge in getting to net zero by 2050,” the sailor said.

"Having our fuel cell on display drew a lot of attention and the level of interest from the event was way above our expectations. It was encouraging to find out that there are companies who have active hydrogen projects who are looking for fuel cell solutions today, from canal boats to high speed ferries.

"With everyone in the energy space now talking about hydrogen, and with recent deployment of large scale public funding to kickstart the hydrogen economy, it is a really good time for us to be launching these marinised fuel cell solutions to help development of zero emission vessels."

Pictured top: Phil Sharp with the hydrogen fuel cell. (Gilles Delacuvellerie)

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Posted by Geoff Cornwall on
Yes, it's a super idea and all very sensible but the question remains, "How do you get the hydrogen?" If that can be produced from solar or wind energy on the go then that's great but if he's simply going to take compressed hydrogen with him then what's new? Or am I missing something ?

Geoff Cornwall
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