ARKANSAS, Oct 13 (Future Headlines)- China has achieved a significant milestone in the application of hydrogen fuel cell technology for inland waterway vessels with the launch of the Three Gorges Hydrogen Boat No. 1, marking the country’s first hydrogen-powered ship. The vessel embarked on its maiden voyage from Yichang City in Hubei Province on October 11, about seven months after its initial unveiling.

The Three Gorges Hydrogen Boat No. 1 features a steel-aluminum composite structure and boasts a total length of 49.9 meters, a beam of 10.4 meters, and a draft of 3.2 meters. Its propulsion system consists of a 500 kW hydrogen fuel cell working in conjunction with an 1800 kW·h lithium battery system, providing the vessel with a maximum cruise range of 200 kilometers.

This inland catamaran has the distinction of being the first hydrogen-powered boat inspected and classified by the China Classification Society. Jianglong Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. constructed the vessel for Yangtze Power Co., which plans to employ it for transportation, patrol, and emergency response activities in the Three Gorges reservoir area and between the Three Gorges-Gezhouba dams.

To facilitate the broad use of hydrogen energy in the Three Gorges waters, China’s Three Gorges Corporation has made substantial investments in constructing shore-based hydrogen stations for the efficient transfer of hydrogen to ships.

The first inland dock-type hydrogen production and refueling station in China uses clean electric energy generated by the Three Gorges power station for water electrolysis to produce hydrogen. After compression, storage, and filling processes, the station can supply 240 kilograms of hydrogen per hour, ensuring a sustainable supply of hydrogen for hydrogen-powered vessels in the region.

Reporting by Kevin Wood; Editing by Sarah White