Iceland's Hydrogen Ship Presages Fossil-free Maritime

The conversion of the whale-watching ship Elding to hydrogen power will initially be confined to the use of a fuel cell to power the engine that runs its lighting

Published: 23-Jan-2008

REYKJAVIK (Reuters) - At first glance, the red ship hardly looks like a herald of the future. Even its owner admits the hull needs a coat of paint and the interior some spit and polish.

But in a few weeks, the Elding -- Icelandic for "Lightning" -- will be transformed into the world's first hydrogen-equipped commercial vessel, the latest sign that Iceland is pushing hard to become the first nation to break free from the constraints of fossil fuel.

Come April, visitors to Europe's northernmost capital will get a taste of that future by taking whale-watching tours aboard the ship, or renting one of the world's first hydrogen-powered hire cars.


Jim Harrington is the very essence of an inventor – with an impressive history of electronic and mechanical product design in astrophysics, geophysics and oceanographic – but it took the experience of messing about on his 42ft ketch Morning Star to inspire this dream.

Priced at $17,121, Scout's Hybrid is just a few hundred dollars more expensive than a similar-sized traditional vessel.

From electric cars to merchant ships pulled along by beluga Skysails, the world is finding cleaner ways to travel.


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