China’s First Hydrogen-Powered Ship Sets Sail on Groundbreaking Voyage

October 16, 2023by CN_MAR

In a significant development, China has made strides in the adoption of hydrogen fuel cell technology in inland waterway transportation. The milestone came with the maiden voyage of China’s first hydrogen-powered ship, the Three Gorges Hydrogen Boat No. 1, which commenced its journey in Yichang City, located in central China’s Hubei Province, on October 11. This noteworthy event occurred approximately seven months after the ship’s initial launch. 

The vessel boasts a steel-aluminum composite structure, measuring 49.9 meters in length, 10.4 meters in width, and a draft of 3.2 meters. Its power source is a 500 kW hydrogen fuel cell, complemented by an 1800 kW·h lithium battery system, enabling the ship to cover a maximum cruising distance of 200 kilometers. 

What sets this inland catamaran apart is that it is the first hydrogen-powered vessel to receive inspection and classification from the China Classification Society. Constructed by Jianglong Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. for Yangtze Power Co., this ship will be utilized for various purposes, including transportation, patrol, and emergency response activities in the Three Gorges reservoir area and between the Three Gorges-Gezhouba dams. 

In order to facilitate the widespread use of hydrogen energy within the Three Gorges region, China’s Three Gorges Corporation has made substantial investments in establishing onshore hydrogen stations. These stations are crucial for the efficient transfer of hydrogen to ships. 

The first of its kind in China, the inland dock-type hydrogen production and refueling station generates clean electric energy from the Three Gorges power station to electrolyze water, producing hydrogen. This hydrogen is then compressed, stored, and dispensed directly to hydrogen-powered ships. The station has the capacity to supply 240 kilograms of hydrogen per hour, marking a significant advancement in promoting hydrogen as a clean energy source for the future. 


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