Cornwall Marine Hydrogen Centre Starts

By May 23, 2021 3   min read  (611 words)

May 23, 2021 |

Fuel cells works, hydrogen, Cornwall, marine, fuel cells

Funding was successfully secured, and the project officially began on the 25th of March 2021

Boost for Hydrogen Industry in the Marine sector.

The case for hydrogen to replace fossil fuels in the boat sector is gathering pace, and now there is a new research and testing facility being created in the UK for use by equipment suppliers worldwide.  The Cornwall Marine Hydrogen Centre is a European funded project at the University of Exeter’s Cornwall campus, dedicated to testing the marinisation of hydrogen systems for small to medium vessels.

The global maritime industry relies on oil and has a huge challenge to decarbonise.  International shipping is charged with a 40% reduction by 2030, but there is also a need for change in smaller fishing vessels, ferries, and pleasure boats.  Electric vessels are an option, but rely on a land-based electrical connection and have long recharge times.  A hydrogen-electric system provides a practical and lighter solution, with fast and easy refuelling and a much greater range.  However standard hydrogen equipment is designed for use on land, not in a damp and salty environment.  Marinisation needs to be designed in, tested, and proven.  Now there will be a Marine Hydrogen Centre to help do just that.

Cornwall is renowned for its maritime history and hosts the National Boat Collection at the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, where the University of Exeter has a globally respected renewable energy and marine energy faculty.  Now, with a programme put together with international clean energy specialists Pure Energy Professionals, grant support has been secured from the European Regional Development Fund, Priority Axis 1 Research and Innovation.  This is to establish a world-first independent Centre for hydrogen components and systems aimed at leisure boats and small commercial vessels.  Everything from refuelling, storage, fuel cells, controls, motors and drives will be able to be tested in top quality facilities under simulated real-world conditions.

Professor Richard Cochrane said “Worldwide, there are over 30 million boats under 15 metres in length so the challenge, and market, is huge.  We believe we can contribute greatly to any company’s development programme aimed at this sector.  This is a natural extension to our existing sea energy test Centre, world-class mooring and sub-sea cable testbed, and hydrogen knowledge base”.

“We have been progressively decarbonising electricity worldwide for over 30 years,” said Bruce Woodman of Pure Energy Professionals. “Now, governments, companies and private individuals all want to find a way to do the same in transport – but much quicker.  Green hydrogen from renewable energy enables zero-carbon propulsion, but in the marine sector there are special conditions to be taken into account and fully researched.  Equipment and system providers need somewhere to get this done, and we will provide that capability”.

The University of Exeter is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of research-intensive universities and is in the top ten for renewable energy.

Pure Energy Professionals has a 30-year track record of working with manufacturers and investors in renewable energy worldwide and has been at the forefront of new technology proving and adoption.

 European Regional Development Fund

The project (is receiving up to) £624,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit

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