Ellen MacArthur Sets Sail Aboard the University's Hydrogen Powered Barge

Posted on Wednesday 4th June 2008

Dame Ellen MacArthur will take a trip on the University of Birmingham’s hydrogen hybrid canal barge on Thursday 5 June at 11am setting off from the International Convention Centre (ICC) as part of the Birmingham Climate Change Festival.

The craft, which is a silent, zero emission craft developed by engineers at the University of Birmingham and at EMPA Switzerland, is a converted canal maintenance barge donated by British Waterways. To achieve a zero emission propulsion system, Birmingham engineers have installed a fuel cell, a metal hydride store for the hydrogen, a battery stack and solar panels and the diesel engine has been replaced by a permanent magnet electric motor.

Ellen MacArthur said, ‘I’m very excited that, through my partnership with E.ON, I’m able to be involved with The Birmingham Climate Change Festival.  I’m keen to understand more about this inspiring new technology and how it can contribute towards a more sustainable Birmingham.’

Professor Rex Harris, from the University’s Department of Metallurgy and Materials, who is leading the  project, says, ‘This will provide a wonderful opportunity to show Dame Ellen our barge. 

We firmly believe that hydrogen is the way forward as the future non-carbon based fuel in land and water transport applications and our vision is to develop a canalside hydrogen refuelling infrastructure and to generate green hydrogen at suitable sites throughout the inland waterways network.’

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Notes to Editors

For further media information

Kate Chapple, Press Officer, University of Birmingham, tel 0121 414 2772 or 07789 921164.

For further media information

Kate Chapple, Press Officer, University of Birmingham, tel 0121 414 2772 or 07789 921164.