Chase Zero catamaran to bring a dash of hydrogen to the America's Cup
Mindful of the significant carbon emissions generated by the marine industry, America's Cup reigning champion Emirates Team New Zealand has been developing a hydrogen-powered chase boat, and has now taken it out for its first spin. The Chase Zero foiling catamaran made its first splash in Auckland last week, tearing around Waitematā harbor while leaving no carbon emissions in its wake.
It was in June last year that Emirates Team New Zealand announced its plans to develop hydrogen-powered chase boats for the 37th America's Cup, to take place in Barcelona in 2024. The support vessel has since been pieced together to form a 10-meter-long (32-ft) prototype with a top speed of 50 knots (57.5 mph/92.5 km/h), powered by a pair of Toyota 80-kW hydrogen fuel cells in each hull.
These combine with a pair of 42-kWh onboard batteries, which accommodate fast-changing power demands and compensate for the slower response time from the fuel cells, as electrical engineer Michael Rasmussen explained.
“The battery is also used to achieve the higher speeds," he said. "The boat can cruise at approximately 30 knots with the 160 kW generated from the fuel cells, but to achieve the higher-end speeds up towards 50 knots we are able to draw from the batteries as well to bump this up to around 420 kW for shorter periods. The fuel cell will then re-charge the batteries once there is excess power available again.”
After a thorough testing process, the Chase Zero boat was let loose on Waitematā harbor last Thursday. An autopilot system brought it up to foiling flight mode, sending the boat skimming across the water to minimize resistance and maximize performance.
“Traveling at 50 knots on the water requires a lot of power, and so foiling, like in sailing, was an obvious choice for us to reduce drag and therefore help to extend our range to around 180 km (111 miles) on one fill of hydrogen which is stored on four tanks onboard, two in each hull," said design coordinator Dan Bernasconi.
Emirates Team New Zealand says it will continue work on the project over the coming weeks, readying the Chase Zero for use when it resumes sailing operations later this year.
“This project is all about proving how we can influence the global marine industry by producing a prototype hydrogen powered foiling catamaran," said Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton. "And today has been a huge progression towards that. We have no doubt there will be a lot of entities and organizations that will be watching and thinking how the technology can be adapted to their specific use case or ideas."
You can see the boat in action in the video below.
Source: Emirates Team New Zealand