San Francisco-based Hornblower Cruises has been a ubiquitous presence on the Bay for decades. In the April issue of Latitude 38, we shared a story on repowering your sailboat with green energy using an electric or hydrogen fuel cell auxiliary. Now we’ve learned that Hornblower Energy, a subsidiary of Hornblower Cruises, has received an $8 million grant from the US Department of Energy to build the first facility to produce hydrogen fuel via hydroelectric power that will be dispensed to ferries and other vessels.
“With Hornblower Group’s longstanding environmental record of developing ways and resources to implement green practices, I am incredibly proud of the work our team has put forward in leading this next phase of hydrogen-fueled technology,” CEO Kevin Rabbitt said in a statement. “This industry-first fueling station proves our commitment to investing in new and innovative technologies within the maritime industry and beyond.”
According to the statement, the project will demonstrate the use of zero-carbon hydroelectric energy in the electrolysis of water, producing green hydrogen. The company said the floating, movable system is also compatible with other zero-carbon sources of electricity — for example, offshore wind.
The first-of-its-kind project began in 2021 in San Francisco and has a projected completion date of 2025. Perhaps there will be an opportunity to refuel hydrogen fuel cell-repowered sailboats!