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Marine research could soon be possible without the risk of polluting either the air or the ocean. It's thanks to a new ship design and feasibility study led by Sandia National Laboratories.
Hydrogen fuel cells have existed for decades, and there are multiple advantages to using them instead of diesel engines specifically to power research ships. Fuel cells are zero-emissions technology, so they won't contaminate air or water samples collected in sensitive ecological areas. They make almost no noise, so they won't upset marine life or interfere with the many sensors scientists use to listen to sound in the ocean.
Advantages - Feasibility - Research - Vessel - Sandia
Despite these and many other advantages, the feasibility of a hydrogen-powered research vessel has never been studied or proven. Until now. A Sandia report released this month shows it is technically and economically feasible to build such a vessel in a manner consistent with marine regulations. The project team nicknamed the vessel the "Zero-V," short for zero-emissions research vessel.
This project, led by Sandia, brought together the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, Glosten, a naval architecture firm; and DNV GL, a global quality assurance and risk management company working for the maritime industry. It was funded by the Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration (MARAD).
Benefits - Hydrogen - Power - Boat - Fuel
One of the biggest additional benefits of using hydrogen to power a boat? No ecologically damaging fuel spills. According to Sandia chemist and project lead Lennie Klebanoff, it is impossible to have a polluting hydrogen spill on the water. More buoyant than helium, hydrogen rises on its own and eventually escapes into outer space.
"If you're working in a sensitive ecological area and you spill liquid hydrogen there, the fuel not only removes itself from this environment, it removes itself from the planet," Klebanoff said.
Fuel - Cells - Water - Ship - Crew
Fuel cells even generate water so pure that the ship's crew...
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