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CMDC Project



SEA-KIT has secured funding via the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition to install a PCB-based hydrogen fuel cell, engineered by Bramble Energy, on its USV ‘Maxlimer’ and demonstrate zero emission maritime operations.

The project, funded by the Department for Transport (DfT) and delivered in partnership with InnovateUK, will showcase a diesel to hydrogen conversion of SEA-KIT’s proven USV design and demonstrate a route to fulfilling the UK’s Clean Maritime Plan Strategy commitment of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping by at least 50% by 2050.

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SEA-KIT USVs have a dual diesel-electric hybrid drive, with propulsion coming from an electric motor powered by battery banks that are charged by in-situ diesel generators. This project will replace one of the diesel generators with new hydrogen fuel cell technology from Bramble Energy and demonstrate an offshore operation with zero carbon emissions. West Sussex-based Bramble Energy will design and manufacture a marinized, customised version of its printed circuit board fuel cell (PCBFC). The use of PCBs, as opposed to metallic or graphite end plates, makes the technology more suited to rugged, marine environments. Bramble Energy’s PCBFC system will sit inside an enclosure within the USV to prevent sea water ingress and corrosion.

Download a project summary here.

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SEA-KIT will retrofit its demonstration vessel, USV ‘Maxlimer’, with the hydrogen fuel system. Data gathered from bench testing and sea trials will be utilised for the design and build of similar USVs, as well as for larger uncrewed vessel builds in the near future.

Announced in March 2020, and part of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan to position the UK at the forefront of green shipbuilding and maritime technology, CMDC is a £20m investment from government alongside circa £10m from industry to reduce emissions from the maritime sector.

USVs are already being deployed for a range of commercial tasks, including geophysical survey, offshore inspections, surveillance and coastal asset monitoring. This collaboration aims to enable the emergence of hydrogen fuel systems as another viable option for the fast-growing USV market.

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