World’s first hydrogen powered boat smashes targets

A HYDROGEN-fuel catamaran built by Cheetah Marine has demonstrated the potential of zero CO2 technology in the marine industry.

The 9.95m catamaran, designed and built at Cheetah’s workshops on the Isle of Wight features a Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine (HICE). The Honda outboard works in the same way as traditional petrol engine except it burns hydrogen and produces harmless water vapour as the only emission.

The catamaran is the first marine example of HICE technology and has been tested throughout the spring, concluding with a 100km round the Island voyage in April.

Lucy Strevens, of Cheetah Marine, said: "We finished three hours ahead of schedule and still had enough hydrogen to circumnavigate again. It was a great success. Previously craft have been powered using hydrogen fuel cells, but it doesn't appear there's been a boat running on hydrogen in a traditional internal combustion engine."

The ‘Island Hydrogen’ project forms part of a government-funded project through Innovate UK which has also enabled the opening of a refuelling station near the M1 in Rotherham for hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Project partner ITM Power installed a marine refuelling station at Cheetah Marine's base in Ventnor, which produces hydrogen from mains water, assisted by a bank of 26 kW solar panels.

Hydrogen is one of the cleanest energies available and represents the potential fuel of the future. It is exciting to be doing something that has never been done before."

Round The Island on Hydrogen Data

• 10m Cheetah holds 15 kg of hydrogen in twin tanks stored at 350 bar

• Planned for 12 hour circumnavigation and completed in 8 hours

• 56 nautical miles in 8 hours

• 200 bar used = 6.59 kg hydrogen

• Equivalent to 25 litres of petrol

• Petrol requirement for same trip 32 litres (represents 0.78:1 hydrogen to petrol ratio)

• Averaged 7-8 knots

• Top speeds 12 knots (using 1 engine).

• 140 bar remains in tanks


  • Energy from the 26kW PV bank on Cheetah Marine’s roof is used to provide power for the workshop. Excess energy produced by the PV is offset against power requirements of the electrolyser which is used to generate the hydrogen which is dispensed into the tanks to run the boat. The electrolyser can create up to 15kg hydrogen per day,
  • VIDEO: The project has sparked significant interest. A short video has been produced which highlights the two voyage of the hydrogen boat and car and summarises the potential of hydrogen as the cleanest fuel.

Details about the project:

  • Round the Island by Hydrogen is the finale of a three and a half year project, showcasing the potential of hydrogen as a future renewable energy.
  • The Project was part funded by Innovate UK and featured a hydrogen car club which was run in Yorkshire. The consortium had 10 partners including ITM Power, specialists in hydrogen production facility, IBM who were developing user interface software for the refuelling process and Arcola who produced a schools programme to involve children and raise awareness of hydrogen as a potential fuel for the future.
  • Microcab around the Island Wednesday 20th April :A Microcab H2EV vehicle travelled around the island to showcase the vehicle at various stopping off points. This included schools involved with Arcola’s programme and well known island spots. Originally it was hoped to race the car vs cat but the two trips had to be carried out on different days.For more information see:
LOA 9.95m
Beam 3.5m
Converted engine 135hp Honda
Cabin Open style
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