UC San Diego hires Glosten to design hybrid hydrogen research vessel


Naval architecture and marine engineering firm Glosten has been selected to design a new coastal research vessel with a hydrogen hybrid propulsion system for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.

Proposed conceptual rendering of California’s new coastal research vessel. Courtesy of Glosten

For this project, Glosten will provide the preliminary design, contract design and detailed design of the vessel which would be an innovation in the maritime industry with a one-of-a-kind propulsion system.

The new research vessel will feature a hybrid propulsion system that incorporates hydrogen fuel cells alongside a conventional diesel-electric power plant, enabling zero-emissions operations.

The design is sized so that the ship can operate 75% of its missions entirely using a non-fossil fuel – hydrogen – with only pure water and electricity as reaction products, the developers claim.

For longer missions, additional power will be provided by modern, clean diesel generators. According to UC San Diego, the ship represents a major step in advancing California’s commitment to reducing global climate risk while transitioning to a carbon-neutral economy.

The proposed 125-foot vessel will be equipped with instrumentation and detection systems, including acoustic Doppler current profilers, seabed mapping systems, mid-water fishing imaging systems, biological and geological sampling and support for airborne drone operations.

The planned schedule for design and construction includes one year to complete the basic design. Following approval of the design by the US Coast Guard, the university will select the shipyard where the design will be built. Construction and detailed design will likely take another three years.

When completed, it will join the fleet of ships managed by Scripps, including the Navy-owned research vessels Sally Ride and Roger Revelle, which conduct global oceanographic research, and the research vessel Bob and Betty Beyster, a coastal scientific work.

Last summer, California lawmakers allocated $35 million for the design and construction of this vessel which will serve as an education and research platform dedicated to understanding the California coast and the impacts of climate change. on the coastal ecosystem.

“This ship will be the first of its kind, and the selection of the naval architect is a major milestone for Scripps“, said bruce Call doorAssociate Director and Head of Vessel Operations at Scripps Oceanography.

“Fundamentally, our vessels must be reliable and able to support the innovative research our scientists conduct at sea. On top of that, the vessel we envision must demonstrate that zero-emission power systems operate effectively under demanding real-world conditions. . It is the job of the Naval Architect to provide the engineering, design and integration skills necessary for this project to succeed on all levels.

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