Acua Ocean, a UK-based developer of maritime autonomous surface ships, has been granted Approval in Principle (AiP) from Lloyd’s Register for its hydrogen system, control engineering system and electrical power distribution systems on what is believed to be the world’s first zero-emission hydrogen-powered autonomous surface ship.
The prototype systems underwent Factory Acceptance Testing in March 2022 as part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, funded by the UK Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK. Subsequently, Acua has been working under a Connected Places Catapult Transport Research Innovation Grant (TRIG) to develop the automation of the onboard hydrogen systems, delivering both enhanced safety and decision-making protocols.
Acua Ocean has now unveiled its new H-USV design developed by naval architect and Swath designer John Kecsmar of Ad Hoc Marine Designs. The vessel is powered by 6,000 litres of liquid hydrogen, resulting in increased power, reliability and endurance and delivers on the UK Maritime Strategy climate change commitment to zero-emission propulsion by 2025.
Working with Lloyd’s Register and industry regulators the vessel offers a high level of redundancy at sea and is specifically designed for operating in open ocean conditions. The Acua Ocean vessel offers a stable platform to deploy payloads and sensors for a range of ocean monitoring and protection applications.
Acua CEO Neil Tinmouth said: “Working with Lloyd’s Register and Ad Hoc Marine Designs has enabled us to ensure the vessel aligns with regulatory standards and operational requirements. As the adoption of net-zero propulsion systems accelerates so we see a clear strategic advantage as the first to market.”