Yamaha unveils world’s first hydrogen-powered boat

Yamaha Roush H2

Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. has revealed a groundbreaking innovation in the marine industry: a hydrogen-powered outboard engine for recreational boats. The company also showcased a prototype boat equipped with a hydrogen fuel system, which it plans to test on the water later this year.

The project is part of Yamaha’s strategy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, using multiple technology solutions. Yamaha has partnered with Roush, a leader in hydrogen systems integration, and Regulator Marine, a long-time boat builder, to develop and test the hydrogen outboard and fuel system.

“Yamaha Motor Corporation is exploring all possibilities to achieve carbon neutrality, and we believe hydrogen is a viable method of achieving these goals,” said Ben Speciale, President of Yamaha U.S. Marine Business Unit.

“Yamaha wants to be a leader in this space, and we encourage others in the marine industry to become involved as we look for ways to build infrastructure and new policy around innovations.”

The hydrogen outboard is the world’s first of its kind, and it promises to offer a clean, efficient, and powerful alternative to conventional fossil fuels. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, and it can be produced from renewable sources such as water and solar energy. When used in a fuel cell, hydrogen produces electricity and water as the only by-products, eliminating harmful emissions.

Roush has been working with Yamaha to design and integrate the fuel system that powers the hydrogen outboard. Roush has over two decades of experience in hydrogen technology, ranging from land speed record vehicles to spacecraft.

“We are the fuel systems integrator, responsible for fuel systems designs, all of the specifications development, physical integration, safety system analysis as well as testing and development,” said Matt Van Benschoten, Vice President of Advance Engineering at Roush. “Yamaha is trying to determine if hydrogen can successfully be used in this market, and I think we will find out the answer is ‘yes.'”

Regulator Marine has built a boat based on the 26XO model and modified it to accommodate the hydrogen tanks necessary to power the new outboard. The boat, along with the outboard and fuel system, was displayed at a recent event to demonstrate how hydrogen could work as a possible fuel source in a marine environment. The boat also serves as a platform for engineers to begin the process of determining marine standards for the use of hydrogen in vessels.

“If we don’t look for a new source, we won’t find a new source. Innovation starts by asking questions. It creates a little angst, but at the end of the day good stuff comes out of innovation,” said Joan Maxwell, President of Regulator Marine. “In the future, as we design boats, if this proves what we think it will, it could be very possible that we are designing hulls around these hydrogen fuel tanks.”

Yamaha, Roush, and Regulator Marine plan to begin testing the prototype boat and outboard for viability on the water in the summer of 2024. Yamaha announced the hydrogen outboard project last December, as part of its commitment to a multi-technology approach to carbon neutrality. Yamaha also recently announced plans to acquire all shares of electric outboard company Torqeedo, and continues to promote the use of sustainable fuels within internal combustion outboard engines as another alternative.

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