Hydrogen-powered boat to be sailing on Australian seas within 18 months


Poseidon Marine H2 is owned and funded by Liberty Energy Capital, the fund behind many of Australia’s hydrogen vehicle plays, including H2X and Aviation H2. 

Poseidon H2, its marine arm, today announced it has brought in two engineers, Peter Mastalir and Kevin Morgan from consultancy Dynamic Efficiency to “lead the development of an emissions-free pleasure craft.”

The company says the pair are now looking at taking the hull of an existing pleasure craft and “redesigning the fit out.”

“Initially, we will be following a rigorous 10-month research and development process, then commence building the most commercially viable option,” Mastalir said. “We intend to use existing technologies as much as possible, which is why we are looking to use an existing hull design with a unique upper deck and internal layout.”

Liberty Energy Capital

Poseidon H2 is owned by Liberty Energy Capital Pty Ltd, an Australian investment firm with “significant positions” in 18 primarily hydrogen focused companies, including H2X GlobalPatriot Hydrogen, Aviation H2Sweetman Renewables, Verdant Earth Technologies, Port Anthony Renewables Limited, and more. Liberty Energy Capital says it’s poised to have a $490 million equity in renewable energy companies across Australia over the next three years.

Branding itself as a renewable energy investor, Liberty Energy Capital’s portfolio is noticeably heavy on biomass-to-hydrogen projects, holding almost every company which has biomass-based projects in Australia. Biomass is not zero emissions technology. 

Liberty Energy Capital holds a 30% stake in Pure Hydrogen, a somewhat misleading name given the company owns three gas projects, including the Windorah Gas Project in the Cooper Basin, one of Australia’s most prolific onshore petroleum basins.

On its website, Liberty Energy Capital say it is “100% owned by Sirius Capital Pty Ltd, itself owned by a group of Family Office’s”. Strange grammar and punctuation aside, family offices usually refers to private wealth management advisory firms that serve ultra-high-net-worth individuals. 

In November last year, Liberty’s Aviation H2 came out with a very similar announcement to today’s news, saying it had appointed a team of engineers to fast-track the building of Australia’s first hydrogen-fuelled aeroplane, which it said would be flying by 2023.

Hydrogen fuelled boat

Back to Poseidon H2, the company seems to be very much aiming its hydrogen-fuelled boat at everyday punters, labelling it a pleasure craft and not signalling to any utility. 

Many have questioned the potential market acceptance of consumer hydrogen vehicles (be they boats or cars) because they tend to be less efficient and more expensive that electric alternatives. Liberty is nonetheless backing them, with H2X very much focusing on consumer cars in its current vehicle rollout which is expected to continue unveiling new models throughout this year. 

“Our number one goal is to build a better boat, it just happens to be that it will be powered by hydrogen. The brief is to ensure it has an equivalent operational range, requires less maintenance and is cheaper to run than traditional fuel sources like diesel,” engineer Mastalir said.

The company says it is confident it will be able to create a model that allows for a new top to be seamlessly installed onto a repurposed hull. Once commercialised, it says it will lead to “quick uptake by significant players” as the “majority of the infrastructure for a carbon-free boat is already at hand.”

Both engineers have been appointed to Poseidon H2’s board.

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