ABS to class UC San Diego’s hydrogen-powered research ship

American classification society ABS has revealed that it will class a hydrogen-fueled research vessel commissioned by the University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography.


Designed by Glosten, the vessel will feature a new hydrogen-hybrid propulsion system that integrates hydrogen fuel cells alongside a conventional diesel-electric power plant, enabling zero-emission operations.

Credit: Glosten

The design is scaled so the ship will be able to operate 75 percent of its missions entirely using hydrogen. For longer missions, extra power will be provided by diesel generators.

The 45.7-meter-long vessel will be equipped with advanced instruments and sensing systems, along with new laboratories, enabling multidisciplinary research, advancing understanding of the physical and biological processes active in California’s coastal oceans.

“ABS is proud to pioneer the development of hydrogen as marine fuel technology with these partners in a project that has the potential to make a significant contribution to the understanding of our oceans. This project will be closely watched by the industry as it breaks new ground and demonstrates the capabilities of this promising alternative fuel at sea,” said Christopher J. Wiernicki, ABS Chairman, President and CEO.

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California, US founded in 1903, is one of the oldest and largest centers for ocean and Earth science research, public service.

 Since becoming part of the University of California in 1912, the institution has expanded its scope to include studies of the physics, chemistry, geology, biology, and climate of Earth.

The institution currently operates with four research vessels, out of which Roger Revelle and Sally Ride are operated under a charter agreement with the Office of Naval Research.

These ships are part of six major oceanographic research vessels owned by the U.S. Navy and operated within the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System as shared-use research facilities.

The research vessel Robert Gordon Sproul is a regional research vessel serving research and education missions offshore California and the U.S. West Coast, while the ship Bob and Betty Beyster is a purpose-built coastal research vessel designed for efficient operations offshore Southern California and throughout the Channel Islands.