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The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) climate strategy aims to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by the year 2050. To achieve this, the shipping industry is in need of a clear strategy. One of the most promising ways to achieve this is through the use of zero-emission fuels as alternatives to fossil fuels.

Traver Kennedy is the Chairman and CEO of Joi Scientific in Florida, which is leading the development in efficient extraction technology to produce hydrogen energy from water. He believes that hydrogen is the ideal zero-emissions fuel since it only produces water vapour when it is combusted. It is already used in cars, buses, trains and aircraft across Europe, California and Japan, but hasn’t yet been adopted in shipping.

While the storage and supply of hydrogen are challenging, all three means of using hydrogen for production have been successful in trials. These are: direct combustion in an engine, combustion to power a steam turbine and the use of a fuel cell. Kennedy predicts that vessels will use a combination of different hydrogen-powered technologies with batteries alongside them as an energy buffer.

Joi Scientific has created a new way to produce hydrogen, coined ‘Hydrogen 2.0’ that is on-demand and therefore circumvents storage issues. It involves extracting hydrogen from seawater. The company recently signed its first license agreement for its Hydrogen 2.0 production technology with MarineMax, the largest boat and yacht retailer globally. Kennedy said,“Together with MarineMax we will work with co-development partners across the industry to bring hydrogen-based energy solutions to leading vendors in the marine industry.”

The next step for Joi Scientific and MarineMax is to fit the Hydrogen 2.0 technology on board boats and ships. Kennedy adds: “In terms of our plans for the future, we envision a wide range of marine applications from small to medium to large. Boats and vessels are just the beginning. We already have seen interest in a variety of other applications―from offshore electrical and clean water generation to improving and decarbonizing power for fish farms.”