Samana 59 Smart Electric REXh2 - Hydrogen now making its way on board!

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Using a standard Samana 59 as a base, the Fountaine Pajot and EODev teams have developed and installed an electro-hydrogen generator with a nominal power of 70 kW.

Boosted by 450 square feet (42 m²) of solar panels, the 650 lb (300 kg) generator installed in the starboard engine compartment powers a 64 kWh LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) battery - comparable to the one used in a top-of-the-range electric car, it weighs 775 lbs (350 kg).

The actual motors offer 50 kW each. The 33 lbs (15 kg) of hydrogen is stored at just over 5,000 psi (350 bar) in special carbon tanks - each tube weighs just 66 lbs (30 kg)! Self-sufficiency in electro-hydrogen mode is 40 hours at anchor and 10 hours under way at a speed of 5 knots.

Of course, energy from the solar panels, combined with hydrogeneration when navigating under sail, all increase considerably these “raw” values. In the event of problems, a small generator and 185 US gallons (700 liters) of fuel are also on board. In standard use, this catamaran should be self-sufficient, notably with zero emissions, for one week. This corresponds to about half that of the standard model, though that would be fitted with twin 110 HP motors, a pair of 15 kW generators and carrying 370 US gallons (1,400 liters) of diesel.

Note that the laden displacement of the Samana 59 Smart Electric REXh2 is barely more than that of the standard catamaran. The Samana prototype is imminently about to receive its certification approvals, after which it will proceed with its very first seatrials off La Rochelle – we’ll be there waiting! The large catamaran will then head for the Caribbean where it will be operated in charter by Tradewinds. It is indeed Magnus Lewin, managing director of Tradewinds, a company specializing in cabin charter, who has acquired this avant-garde Samana. This propulsion system is attractive in many ways, though there is still the question of hydrogen recharging: for the time being, no infrastructure exists in ports.

However, the charter companies most committed to the environmental cause, such as Tradewinds and Dream Yacht Worldwide – who have just ordered ten Fountaine Pajot electric catamarans - could well be the pioneers and install recharging stations, similar in a way to Tesla stations.

Exciting times ahead – watch this space!

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