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Hydrogen Engine Center Signs Letter of Intent with Turkish Boat Builder

Hydrogen Engine Center (HEC) has received a Letter of Intent from an investment group representing Turkish boat builder Labranda and in cooperation with UNIDO-ICHET (United Nations Industrial Development Organization and International Centre for Hydrogen Energy Technologies).

The Letter of Intent puts HEC in position to design, test, build and ship up to 200 alternative-fueled marine engines capable of running on compressed natural gas (CNG) and/or hydrogen for use in water taxis.

The water taxi platform is a 10.9-meter catamaran boat that will provide transportation for up to 10 people in seaside towns. The marine engines would be built based on the HEC’s new 7.5-liter V-8 and are intended to replace the 240hp diesel engines currently used to power water taxis in Turkey, UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Greece.

Hydrogen Engine Center, Inc. designs, manufactures and distributes alternative-fuel internal combustion engines for the industrial, distributed and standby power generation markets. All HEC engines and Gensets are capable of running on a multitude of fuels, including but not limited to, hydrogen, gasoline, propane, natural gas and ethanol. Development of an ammonia-fueled engine is underway. (Earlier post.)

HEC is exploring other applications for its new 7.5-liter engine including power generation, hybrid electric vehicles, irrigation and other industrial applications.

When it comes to alternative fuel technologies, the marine engine market is wide open for significant new business development. At HEC, we are focused on developing the world-wide market for reliable, site-specific, renewable power generation and alternative-fuel internal combustion engines. The marine engine industry segment is a prime example of how our engine and fuel technologies can serve a diverse marketplace.

—Joe Lewis III, Vice President of Engine Sales at HEC


Rafael Seidl

Running a water taxi on hydrogen is a non-starter, economically speaking. Using CNG makes more sense, especially since a boat can easily afford to use metal rather than composite tanks, which can even double as ballast in the keel.

The biggest issue with all power boats is the poor efficiency of the propeller, just 60% or so. Propulsion efficiency goes up if a larger volume of water is ejected at a smaller velocity difference. Inboard engines with wide diffusers featuring guide channels are a good starting point.

Another strategy is to emulate nature and slowly drive a large oscillating fin (vertical) or fluke (horizontal). Using two in opposing motion cancels out undesired lateral or vertical reaction forces.

It's also possible to use a peristaltic propulsion tube with a cross-section consisting of two symmetrical circle segments. A flexible (e.g. rubber) divider sheet containing closely spaced baffles divides the the tube into two chambers. The baffles are supported at aither end and stiff against bending in the flow direction but flexible perpendicular to it. A drive mechanism forces the baffles to bend with the desired phasing to achieve forward or reverse thrust. Such tubes produce constant mass flow.


I am skeptical about hydrogen, but CNG or even LNG ferries using mostly dual-fuel engines (NG as primary fuel and diesel fuel as ignition means and back-up fuel) are well proven technology. Operation of vessels is cheaper, and exhaust is way cleaner then from their pure diesel counterparts:


Roger Pham

Dual-fuel, CNG and H2, is a very practical and foresighted decision. CNG is cheaper and cleaner than diesel and is very practical now, but CNG fossil sources will exhaust in a few decades, and H2 will come on to the scene cheap and widely available. Since a large boat has a life span of many decades, it is wise to plan for the future.


we are working on convesion kit to convert boat engin to CNG fuel system.
If any other company is interested in this field , we are eager to exchange information in order to reach to a final solution.

Best regards,

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