Hamburg Floats Its Boat With H2


The Alster tourist fleet includes a solar catamaran and soon, a hydrogen-run ferry

Construction of Hamburg's first fuel-cell powered hybrid passenger ferry, the 100-passenger Zemship (Zero Emissions Ship) is underway and expected to begin crusing the city's Alster lakes for the ATG touist company by this summer. The Zemship's advantages are zero air emissions (the hydrogen used for its two 50 kW fuel cells is derived from natural gas, so it is not emissions free in its life-cycle), a quiet engine and less water pollution to the Alster. Germany-based Proton Motor designed the hybrid battery/fuel cell system and purports that it is nearly twice as efficient as a conventional diesel-powered ferry - and definitely cleaner than the coal-fired steamer ferries originally running on the Alster.

Funded by the EU, the Zemship project includes the building of a dockside hydrogen station where the ferry will refill its pressurized tanks every two to three days. ATG also owns the solar-powered catamaran the Alstersonne. Hamburg is making a good-sized investment in hydrogen and fuel cell infrastructure, using a hydrogen-run Fiat Diablo at the Hamburg Airport with its own hydrogen pump, and running a small fleet of three hydrogen buses in the inner city as part of the HyFLEET project. Via (German)