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First fuel cell boat cruises Amsterdam`s canals

Last Updated: Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 09:11

Amsterdam: Emitting only water vapour and gliding silently through Amsterdam`s centuries-old canals, a canal boat -- a popular tourist attraction -- powered by fuel cells made its debut cruise on Wednesday.

The "Nemo H2," which can carry about 87 people, is the first of its kind designed specifically to run on a fuel cell engine, in which hydrogen and oxygen are mixed to create electricity and water, without producing air-polluting gases.

"That`s important in a city like Amsterdam with over 125 canal trips per day," said project manager Alexander Overdiep.

A boat trip around Amsterdam`s concentric semi-circles of canals is a popular tourist pastime in the Dutch capital.

From spring, visitors will have the option of a `CO2 Zero Canal Cruise`, for an extra 50 (euro) cents, which will go toward further research into carbon-reducing technology, said Freek Vermeulen, managing director of Lovers boat company.

The new boat cost more than double to build than a canal boat running on a diesel engine, and needs to visit a hydrogen dispensing station for a refill once a day, while normal boats only need a fuel top-up once a week.

But developers of the 3 million euro project, which was partly government funded, said costs would decline as more boats followed this test phase, and if more advanced hydrogen distribution infrastructure emerged.


First Published: Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 09:11
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