One-day workshop with emphasis on the application of electricity and hydrogen to waterways transportation.The waterways have always been associated with a greener life-style and still represent a very efficient means of transportation. It would be very appropriate therefore, if this is one of the first sectors of the transport infrastructure to adopt a totally clean energy strategy. The Protium Project at Birmingham is showing that a combination of hydrogen and batteries can provide viable clean energy sources for canal boats and that the hydrogen can be stored safely and reversibly for long periods as a metal hydride on-board the vessel. A hydrogen fuelled fuel cell can then be employed to drive the boat directly or preferably to recharge an on-board battery stack which then powers a NdFeB-type electric motor.
The batteries can also be trickle charged using solar panels and/or a wind generator. The weight of the energy storage systems can be regarded as an asset to be distributed throughout the vessel to act as ballast as well as sources of stored energy. The boat can also be steered by a system based on NdFeB magnets.
Thus, by these means, clean technologies can be applied to a traditional mode of transportation to replace the conventional diesel engine, thereby eliminating atmospheric, water and noise pollution. However, the complete greening of the waterways will only be possible when the hydrogen itself is generated using on-site, non-carbon based technologies.