SEA-KIT International has won funding from the Zero Emissions Vessels and Infrastructure (ZEVI) competition to design and manufacture a hydrogen-fuelled Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV).
As part of the initiative, the vessel manufacturer will collaborate with Marine2o to create land-based infrastructure to manufacture green hydrogen using renewable energy and water electrolysis.
The Zero Emissions Ports Hydrogen Refilling Survey Vessel (ZEPHR) project aims to extend vessel operation for port operators and stakeholders by transferring all energy from readily available green electricity to 100 per cent green hydrogen production, compression, storage, and dispensing.
A consortium partner, the Port of London Authority (PLA), will host the hydrogen refuelling station on the River Thames in London and will later run the ZEPHR USV.
SEA-KIT’s remotely controlled USVs, many of which are active on offshore projects across the world, increase safety by having personnel based onshore in Remote Operations Centres.
According to the company, their reduced size results in substantial cost savings when compared to bigger, traditional survey vessels.
The ZEPHR USV platform’s primary payload will be a high resolution multi-beam echo-sounder, with the possibility to deploy other sensors such as LiDAR, cameras, and environmental monitoring and sampling equipment.
The vessel will also be capable of launching and recovering flying drones for surveying, surveillance, and search and rescue missions. For redundancy, ZEPHR will employ two hydrogen fuel cell systems.
To fulfil regulatory and compliance standards and receive permissions for continuous operations, the vessel’s design will be assessed by Lloyd’s Register and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
ZEPHR is set to be built at SEA-KIT’s recently expanded production facility in Tollesbury, Essex in the UK.