The Canadian Government is on the brink of opening a new window of opportunities for hydrogen fuel cell technology as it calls for tenders for the design of low-emission Coast Guard ships that would integrate the said technology, the Canadian Press writes.
The $332,000 tender forms part of the Ottawa’s fleet modernization plan and it relates to design of three offshore fisheries science vessels intended to replace four outdated coast guard ships.
The 55-metre vessels would be assembled at Vancouver-based shipyard Seaspan Marine Corp. within the framework of Seaspan’s $8-billion deal to build seven non-combat vessels. The construction is expected to kick off next year.
Based on the tender, the goal is to install a hydrogen fuel cell in the range of 1,500 kilowatts, but there are various technical and financial challenges to be dealt with, Zuomin Dong, a professor in the mechanical engineering department at the University of Victoria said. According to him, each fuel cell system could cost over $6 million.
The ships, to be stationed on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, would be in charge of carrying out fishing and acoustic surveys of fish and gather data on the distribution and biology of marine species.
Reportedly, the Government is planning to award the contract to the Alion Science and Technology Canada; nevertheless the Public Works is required to issue a tender indicating other eligible suppliers.
World Maritime News Staff, October 2, 2012; Image: Seaspan Marine