Here is the first hydrogen-powered outboard for “normal” boats


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What Yamaha's hydrogen outboard should look like
What Yamaha’s hydrogen outboard should look like

Of electric motors, so far, we have seen plenty. From the babies of Torqeedo to the very powerful 300-horsepower Evoy. Let’s focus on outboards. In this scenario, Yamaha(also on the strength of its recent acquisition of Torqeedo) enters “with a leg to stand on” and under the spotlight of the
Miami Boat Show in Florida
, it comes up with a“hydrogen outboard.” You have read correctly.

NB: we are not talking about a final engine, but a prototype, as we
we had announced here

Hydrogen outboards: Yamaha is serious about it

With all the engines out there, but why a hydrogen outboard at all? “
Hydrogen is one of many technological solutions to achieve zero carbon emissions.”

Yamaha Marine’s word. Around the world, the roads to zero emissions are many. Why then exclude hydrogen? The engine structure, so far, seems to be coined from the
V8 (450hp or 400hp)
suggesting how it is likely to start from the top of the range in the development of this solution.

Up to this point, hydrogen-related projects in the marine world have always been inextricably linked to the “tailor-made” boat.
Who remembers, for example, the Hynova 40?
Or of another project, in this case an all-Italian one, namely the
Santelmo F50P
. A start-up by two young people from Milan who chose to focus on a 15-meter shuttle as their first step.

If Yamaha is developing it, however, the goal seems more likely to be to adapt to boats already on the market with the goal of industrializing and making the product more affordable on a large scale. It may therefore be no coincidence that for this preview there was a prototype integrated power system (created with Roush) thought a boat from the U.S. Regulator Marine shipyard, also famous here for its fishermen.

A rendering with left the outboard and right the hydrogen tank

The fact that the first application example is a Regulator 26XO brings it closer to the world of traditional boating. It is a standard boat, obviously adapted for tanks, but one that has dimensions (26 feet, about 8 meters) by large numbers. We are still a long way, however, from knowing how much the “package” might cost the end user.

Hydrogen for boats? “Fundamental”

Sea trials have not yet begun, and the first ones will probably start in a few months. Hydrogen for Yamaha seems very important indeed, though.


“In the marine market, the carbon neutrality of our products can only be achieved through an approach that leverages multiple solutions, and we believe hydrogen is key to achieving this goal.”

This was said by none other than Ben Speciale, president of the Yamaha U.S. Marine Business Unit. To this he added that he hopes for feedback from others in the marine industry in finding solutions to build infrastructure and new policies around innovations.

Behind it, then, is another major American company:
. Its support was seen particularly in what concerns the design of the power system, which is based on more than 20 years of projects and studies.

“We are manufacturers of power systems, responsible for their design and development, mechanical integration, system safety and analysis, and testing and development.”

This is what Matt Van Benschoten , who serves as vice president, Advance Engineering, said from Roush. In short, given the big announcement and the companies involved there seems to be some optimism about the future of hydrogen in recreational boating.

Yamaha. The hydrogen outboard boat is American

Edenton, North Carolina. Regulator boats have been built and tested in the harsh conditions of the Outer Banks here since 1988. For this prototype, the hull is that of the 26XO model, modified to accommodate the hydrogen tanks needed to power the new outboard.

The critical issues to date

Yamaha’s idea is undoubtedly interesting, but only time will tell whether it is applicable on a large scale or not. Indeed, we are not only talking about on-board safety and management, but also about widespread charging locations. “The appeal” by Ben Speciale that you read in the article asking “other operators” to participate arises precisely because such a system developed individually by one company without adequate infrastructure can do very little.



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