Just one week after Emirates Team New Zealand first christened their hydrogen-powered foiling catamaran ‘Chase Zero’, the 10m prototype was up and foiling around the Waitematā harbour in Auckland.
Chase Zero has been progressing through a highly measured and stringent commissioning process with every element of the Hydrogen powered boat tested independently and collectively before bringing it up to foiling flight mode with the ETNZ developed autopilot in control of the ride height.
The green hydrogen is stored in gas form at a maximum pressure of 350bar. The tanks are made from a plastic liner, wrapped in carbon fibre for the required strength. Each is capable of holding 8kg, giving a total capacity of 32kg when full.
Chase Zero is powered by two 80kW Toyota hydrogen fuel cells, 1 in each hull, which provide most of the energy needed to power the boat.
The hydrogen gas is passed through a catalyst which strips the electrons away from the H2 molecules.
These electrons are used to power the boat and then return to the positively charged H+ ions which are combined with oxygen from the air, leaving nothing but pure H2O to exit the exhaust of the fuel cell. This electricity is then either stored in the battery, or fed directly into the electric motors that provide the propulsion to the boat.
The battery is also used to achieve the higher speeds. The boat can cruise at approximately 30kts with the 160kW generated from the fuel cells, but to achieve the higher end speeds up towards 50 knots we are able to draw from the batteries as well to bump this up to around 420kW for shorter periods.
The fuel cell will then re-charge the batteries once there is excess power available again.