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OceansLab targets The Ocean Race with hydrogen-powered race boat

by OceansLab 24 May 05:55 PDT
The first hydrogen-powered racing boat, OceansLab © Olivier Blanchet

The first hydrogen-powered racing boat skippered by British sailor Phil Sharp, inventor of the Hydrogen Power Module* (HPM), co-founder of Genevos and the clean technology accelerator OceansLab, is preparing to enter The Ocean Race.

Sharp's ambition with this boat is to demonstrate the efficiency of clean energy technologies in the world's most extreme ocean races, engage the public and accelerate the adoption of renewable energy for a clean maritime future. To date, Sharp has achieved more than 25 podium finishes in transatlantic and coastal races and broken three world sailing speed records.

Today, OceansLab's goal is to secure a lead partner and race around the globe on this world-first, pioneering hydrogen race boat.

The world's first green hydrogen racing yacht

OceansLab is a state-of-the-art 60-foot (18.28 m) IMOCA class hydrofoil racing yacht designed to race around the world. OceansLab will be the first to sail without fossil fuels on board, thanks to an innovative hydrogen-electric system integrating a hydrogen fuel cell, green hydrogen, solar panels, hydrogenerators and lithium-ion batteries.

This innovative project is accelerating clean technologies in the marine environment by demonstrating the advantages of renewable energies in terms of performance and sustainability.

OceansLab patron Bertrand Piccard, Swiss explorer, clean energy pioneer and founder of Solar Impulse, commented: "OceansLab is a very important flagship project. This hydrogen project is about implementing important new innovations, showing that they work and showing others how to use them. Even though I come from the world of aviation, I follow very closely what's going on at sea and I want OceansLab to convey this spirit of clean technology and clean energy around the world". Cutting-edge onboard technologies

Key technologies on board the boat include a plug-and-play hydrogen power module developed by Genevos (HPM-15 kW), PV solar panels and cradle-to-cradle composites**.

In just 12 months, the OceansLab team managed to build the entire €6 million racing boat, including the installation of the hydrogen-electric system validated by Lloyds Register, a leading classification society.

Following initial sea trials last November, the pioneering vessel built at Black Pepper Yachts in France has since undergone optimisation of the boat's systems and innovations in renewable energy, at its home port of La Rochelle.

The boat's clean energy system offers considerable energy security thanks to multiple sources of renewable energy capture (sail, solar PV and hydrogenerator), storage (hydrogen and lithium batteries) and energy production (hydrogen fuel cell). The complete system produces zero emissions, for both propulsion and auxiliary power, with a total combined peak power of 20 kW.

This system allows the boat to reach an average speed of 6 knots (10 kW) for 24 hours, giving it a practical range comparable to that of standard diesel-powered yachts and well above the IMOCA safety requirement of 5 hours at 5 knots.

To complete the energy package, high-performance recyclable composite materials have been integrated into several areas of the boat, a first in the maritime sector. These technologies have the potential to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the shipbuilding industry.

OceansLab - Cleantech Accelerator skipper Phil Sharp commented, "I'm very proud of what OceansLab and our partners have already achieved by building a boat that not only has huge performance potential, but also showcases scalable clean innovations that can accelerate positive change on our oceans.

"Demonstrating effective new solutions is key to increasing industry confidence in investing in new technologies that can eliminate emissions from our oceans in line with climate change targets."

OceansLab seeks title partner

OceansLab is looking to collaborate with other organisations who, as well as sharing a spirit of adventure, are also passionate about advancing clean energy technologies in the marine environment as well as the wider environment. This boat is a standard-bearer for reducing emissions and protecting the oceans.

Today, the team's skipper, Phil Sharp, is launching an appeal to join the OceansLab project and complete their existing base of technological partners (Government of Jersey, Maxeon, Bretéché, Musto, OceanVolt) in order to guarantee the future of this unique project by a first participation in the biggest international ocean race, The Ocean Race Europe in 2025 then World in 2027.

With stopovers on every continent, The Ocean Race is one of the most gruelling events in the world. The six-month team race traverses the world's oceans, rounding major capes and passing through some of the most remote and hostile environments on the planet.

Phil Sharp comments, "We already have a fantastic base of technology partners who have enabled us to demonstrate new solutions, but we need to quickly complement this support with a lead partner who can align their decarbonisation goals, while sharing the excitement of racing around the globe with this incredible new vessel."

OceansLab is calling for expressions of interest from those interested in leading the project, to launch an action-packed three-year programme towards The Ocean Race, including transatlantic epics such as the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe 2026 and next year's Transat Jacques Vabre.

For more information on the OceansLab project opportunities, please contact the team at *HPM - Hydrogen Power Module: Genevos' marine fuel cell operates at low air pressure with high power density per cubic meter, offering a low-noise, lightweight solution on the market. Powered by green hydrogen, emissions are reduced to zero, releasing only water and heat as by-products, while its marinized design ensures total resistance to the harsh ocean environment.

About OceansLab - Cleantech Accelerator,

The goal of the OceansLab project is to accelerate clean technologies in the marine environment by demonstrating the performance and sustainability benefits of renewable energy.

The OceansLab yacht is the first state-of-the-art 60-foot IMOCA hydrogen racing yacht, designed to race around the world. OceansLab will be the first to sail without fossil fuels on board, thanks to an innovative hydrogen-electric system integrating a hydrogen fuel cell, green hydrogen, solar panels, hydrogenerators and lithium-ion batteries.

Further information:

About Phil Sharp

Inventor of the HPM-15 and specialist in recyclable composites, to date Phil has achieved over 25 podium finishes in transatlantic and coastal races, winning two championships and breaking three world sailing speed records. Now Phil's mission is clear: to sail around the world in the first hydrogen-powered IMOCA.

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