French Hydrogen Shuttle Wins Innovation Award

This year’s CES (Consumers Electronics Show) edition was an undeniable success, with lots of exciting technical innovations brought to the forefront. Among them, this French maritime shuttle built with a hydrogen fuel cell system, and several new-generation technologies, stands out as the 2022 Innovation Award winner. Called the NepShuttle, it’s the passenger boat version of a versatile, efficient platform developed by NepTech.
The NepShuttle is a hydrogen-powered autonomous maritime shuttle 8 photos
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Knowing that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) wants to cut marine toxic emissions by 50% until 2040, the maritime industry is focusing more and more on green technologies. The French company NepTech has developed a platform that can be converted into different models, from cargo vessels to marine shuttles and ferries, with a double purpose. On one hand, it will help reduce pollutant emissions levels, and on the other hand, it will provide alternative means of transportation, for urban traffic decongestion.

Like its other NepTech siblings, the NepShuttle was designed with an impressive range of technologies, meant to cut energy consumption as much as possible, while still being as performant as diesel-powered vessels.

One of the issues with hydrogen fuel cell systems is that they are very heavy and require more volume to deliver the same energy as much lighter conventional propulsion systems. This is why the builder focused on various ways of saving energy. Plus, it integrated a high-density battery system, and high-capacity fuel cells, for longer autonomy.

The NepShuttle was built with an innovative hull that minimizes drag, increases energy efficiency, and also has a lower impact on the maritime environment. Hydrofoils were then used to further reduce the hydrodynamic drag. This technology has been around for a while, but it’s still considered expensive and insufficiently developed. NepTech’s innovative hydrofoils don’t make the boat rise above the water and keep a shallow draft, which make the shuttle more stable and comfortable.

This efficient shuttle also boasts an onboard energy management system, and a cutting-edge system for autonomous navigation, which can detect floating objects and perform automatic docking.

The 80-foot (24 meters) boat can carry up to 150 passengers, plus four bikes, and also offers onboard connectivity and anti-vibration seats.

The French company hasn’t revealed yet when the NepShuttle is due to enter service, but this prestigious award confirms that it’s on the right path.

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