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Fuel option research beginning to gather momentum - Australian newsletter

by Peter Rendle 13 May 15:00 PDT
Genevos Hydrogen Power Module, EIGSI Industrial Lab © Gilles Delacuvellerie

One gets a feeling that there is a new era dawning. Propulsion: "the action of driving or pushing forwards". Traditionally, power boats have been propelled by an engine using petrol or diesel that is ignited to produce the combustion that activates the pistons. However, with the ongoing discussion regarding carbon emissions, the major engine suppliers are already looking to the future with electricity and now hydrogen fuelled engines as possible alternatives.

The latest news comes from Kawasaki and Yanmar. Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Yanmar Power Technology and Japan Engine Corporation have formed a consortium of Japanese engine manufacturers to pursue joint development of hydrogen-fuelled marine engines for ocean-going and coastal vessels, towards establishing a world-leading position in hydrogen engine technologies.

With the growing need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, marine engines are expected to transition to various alternative fuels in the coming years. Among the many alternatives, hydrogen is attracting global interest for its application in a wide range of energy and mobility industrial sectors as a fuel that offers zero-emissions. Companies are looking to develop technologies in the hydrogen value chain towards global expansion of this important alternative fuel. By cooperating on common fundamental technologies such as basic experiments and analysis on hydrogen combustion, materials, and sealing techniques, as well as classification society requirements, each company aims to bring hydrogen-fuelled engines to the market by 2025.

And further news of environmental concern involves the reef. It is big, fast, and about to revolutionise field activities in the vast Great Barrier Reef. Meet the new $9.7 million state-of-the-art Reef Resilience vessel, which was unveiled in Gladstone this week. The 24-metre Reef Resilience, jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments under the Reef Joint Field Management Program, enters service next week from the home port of Gladstone. Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley, and the Queensland Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Meaghan Scanlon, officially launched the vessel this week.

As sailing events start to appear on the calendar one well-known regatta venue has secured a new sponsor for their next event in 2022. Southport Yacht Club is excited to welcome Qoin as the naming rights sponsor of the 2022 Sail Paradise Regatta: a partnership made up of two fresh, innovative, forward-thinking and forward-moving organisations that will bring together some of Australia's top sailing yachts and their crew. The 12th season of Sail Paradise held in January this year has been lauded as the most successful yet, with whispers that 2022 will be an even bigger and better event. Skippers, crews, and spectators agree that the Gold Coast summertime buzz creates a vibrant, fun and competitive four days of sailing.

A sailing event happening later this year is already booked out. The importance of involving female sailors at every level of this egalitarian sport could not be better illustrated by this news of one of the entries. Townsville sailor Donna Dewhurst is happily heading to her 10th SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week (SMIRW) where she will arrive with the usual all-female crew and her Hunter 310, Soul Sister, for Townsville Yacht Club's annual event, which opens spring racing and closes the season of major sailing events in Northern Queensland each year. "This will be my eighth with my boat Soul Sister. I did my first two on other boats," says Dewhurst of the Race Week, to be run from 2-8 September. "I wish I'd woken up earlier. I was a full-time mum and hadn't sailed for a while; then a friend introduced me to a sailor from Melbourne who had the yacht Instant Karma entered for Maggie Island. And I thought it was about time I did some sailing again. I had a bloody ball! I forgot how much I loved sailing. You reignite yourself and reunite with old friends."

Further news of exhibitors at Sydney Festival of Boating includes Navico. Navico have announced its attendance at the 2021 festival with a huge range of Lowrance®, B&G® Simrad Yachting, C-MAP® and JL Audio® Marine products on display. With a revamped interactive boat show display, Navico staff along with well-known brand ambassadors will be available throughout the show to assist customers with all of their fishing, boating and sailing electronics enquiries including "how to" sessions, technical assistance, refit packages and new boat fit-outs.

And while we focus on Australian marine business, we often receive news from across the ditch. Firmans Marine has been a mainstay of the New Zealand boating scene for half a century. The Firman family has helped thousands of customers over the years from the company's Napier base on the North Island, building an enviable reputation for outstanding service, products and know-how. It's a success story that has endured many challenges, and, according to Brian Firman, it all started because someone saw a Mercury outboard in a window. "The history of Firmans Marine can be traced back to my grandparents - Fred and Jean - who originally ran Caltex service stations until they added a caravan rental fleet," Brian said. The Firman/Mercury relationship has now clocked up 50 years and it's been a fundamental part of their success.

New product news this week features the Zhik UVActive range. The importance of protecting your skin from harmful UV, even in cloudy conditions, is well understood in the southern hemisphere yet less so in the northern hemisphere. Which is why the Australian brand Zhik attach so much importance to their new UVActive® range of shirts for summer boating activity. The UVActive fabric blocks out 99.5% of UVA and UVB even when the tops are wet, which far exceeds the exacting UPF 50+ rating. These significantly high results are measured under the US AATCC-183-2004 standards (Determination of the UVR Transmission of Dry Textile) and the Australian/New Zealand standard (AS/NZS-4399:201) for sun protective clothing. Available in long sleeve and short sleeve, using a fine gauge, soft interlock weave, the fabric is highly durable, snag resistant and antistatic.

And finally West System® epoxy is proud to be sponsoring four friends who are aiming to do something extraordinary: to be the first crew to row non-stop from mainland Europe to mainland South America in a pure class boat. The normal Atlantic challenge starts in the Canary Islands and finishes in the Caribbean. Instead, Jim Davidson, Justin Coleman, Rob Lucas and Tom Riley will be rowing from Portugal to French Guiana, adding another 800 miles onto an already incredibly difficult challenge. The team are using a carbon fibre and fibreglass boat, Trilogy, which was constructed in 2013, and has already completed three Atlantic crossings. West System is marketed in Australia by ATL Composites Pty Ltd:

Stay safe,
Peter Rendle

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