The project

TEAM 2024

Design phase
Production phase
Testing phase

Hydro Motion

For 15 years our boats have successfully sailed on the power of the sun. This means 15 years of sustainable innovation and inspiring the maritime sector. In 2020 the team took the next big step towards a sustainable maritime industry by exploring uncharted waters and starting a new project; the Hydro Motion project. In 2021 the team built the world’s first flying hydrogen boat! Last years team even became World Champions of the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge in the Open Sea Class. 

This year, we will take the next step in bridging the gap between “technology of the future” and the current norm by implementing the newest technologies.
In just one year we will design, build and sail an innovative next-level foiling hydrogen-powered boat. To put our boat to the test, we will sail between the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. We will become the first ever foiling hydrogen-powered boat that crosses the North Sea from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom. This way we will show the world the capabilities of hydrogen as a green fuel source in seaworthy vessels.

We, together with our whole team, are very excited about the project! If you feel the same, follow us on our social media channels to keep up with our progress during the year @hydromotionteam 

Why Hydrogen

Why do we use hydrogen to achieve our goal? As scientists have been warning for years, the supply of oil and gas will inevitably run dry, and the exploitation of these energy sources will lead to irreversible climate change. We need to use different approaches if we want to move towards a zero-emission future. 

There are several options to generate green electricity. These include wind and solar generated energy. To come full circle it is essential that we do not only look at the supply side of the chain, but also pay attention to the way we store this energy. Right now, the industry tends towards the usage of chemical cells when it comes to storing energy and powering electric transport. However, this is only part of the solution to reducing carbon emissions in the transport industry, because different applications require different solutions and the demand of lithium is growing faster than the supply can satisfy. 

This is why we focus on an alternative way of storing green energy. The most prominent contender in our opinion is hydrogen. Using hydrogen as an energy carrier has the benefit that it doesn’t produce greenhouse gas emissions when used to generate electricity. On top of that hydrogen -when converted by fuel cells- has an energy storage density approximately 235 times larger compared to industry standard lithium ion battery cells. This is a huge advantage when it comes to powering a vessel. 

When we show what our boat can do, we prove the viability of hydrogen. By working together with the maritime industry itself we can initiate action. We are all part of a problem, which means we can all be part of the solution. Only by working together we can make significant changes! 

The Design of 2024

This year, we have taken on a unique challenge by sailing between the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Consequently, our design approach has been tailored to address specific considerations for navigating the conditions of the North Sea. Our primary focus during the design phase has been on enhancing the seaworthiness of our boat. It is crucial that our vessel can smoothly sail through the rough waters of the North Sea, and this has become a central aspect of our design this year. 

Beyond ensuring seaworthiness, we recognized the importance of efficiency in covering a distance of over 400 km required for the crossing. Our design prioritizes not only seaworthiness but also the efficiency necessary to make covering this distance possible. Therefore an important factor was that we needed to make sure that the boat would be able to foil above the higher waves of the North Sea.

Modified Deep-V-Shaped Monohull

This year we have a modified deep-V-shaped monohull, which means that the boat has a sharp bow in the front allowing it to cut through the waves. On top of that to ensure that our boat can fly above the water we have to make sure that our boat is as light as possible. That is why we make our hull out of carbon fibre because it is a strong and light composite. To make sure that our strong and light hull stays stable in the rough waters of the North Sea we decided to scale up the size of our boat when comparing it to last years boat making it 8 metres in length by 2.65 metres in width. 

Struts and Foils

To be able to lift our boat out of the water to increase the efficiency, our boat balances on three pillars, called the struts. Underneath the struts, wings are attached that are crucial as well to be able to lift the boat out of the water, they are called foils. When our boat rises out of the water the hull does not have to push large amounts of water out of the way to keep its speed, this way we increase our boat’s efficiency tremendously. But how do we fly above the water? To fly above the water we use the foils and struts in a similar way an aeroplane does. Due to the specific shape of the foils, there will be a lower pressure right above the foil than underneath. In other words, the foils are pushed upwards. The more speed we have, the bigger the upward force. When we gain sufficient speed, the foils are able to push the entire boat above the water, making the boat fly. 

When flying we need to stabilize the boat constantly, we do this by using our height control. Each foil is able to independently tilt up and down. Multiple sensors measure the position of the boat above the water. By quickly adjusting the foil angles based on our position, we can sail smoothly over the water while maintaining a stable height and positioning.


At our rear strut we have our propeller which generates all the thrust to propel the boat forward. At a cruising speed of 40 km/h we need a specific force to maintain this speed. The propeller design is optimised to be super efficient at our cruising speed.

Hydrogen Systems

Our boat holds three big, cylindrical tanks of hydrogen, which is the fuel that gives us power to propel our boat. After the hydrogen gas leaves the tanks, it is lowered in pressure. Multiple sensors and safety measures are used to make sure that the hydrogen can be delivered to the fuel cell safely. When the hydrogen is delivered to the fuel cell hydrogen together with oxygen is converted to electricity and water. Providing the electricity to propel our boat. 

From the fuel cell where the electricity is generated, the electricity is transported to all the different components that need electricity.


To quickly increase our speed we use our battery. When accelerating quickly we need a burst of electricity, but the problem is that the fuel cell cannot deliver this sudden burst of electricity. This is the moment where the battery comes in. The battery can deliver enough electricity when a peak of electricity is needed. The battery consists of 224 individual small batteries. These are put together to deliver more power. We use 7 modules that each consist of 32 small batteries and one additional module is used to monitor the battery so that we can use it safely. Using the battery we can immediately deliver more power to the motor when we accelerate. With the battery we can also power all the components of the boat and sail while the fuel cell is not yet turned on. This is the case when the boat is in the harbour and we are booting up the boat. Therefore, the battery is a very useful part of our design.

Production and Assembly Phase

During our production phase all the individual components were carefully produced, mostly by hand! Our team crafted the hull themselves, as well as making the foils from scratch.

Following this, during the assembly phase, we were able to see all the separate components come together to form our completed hydrogen-powered foiling boat.

Are you curious to see what our production and assembly phases looked like? Check out the video below!

Production & Assembly Phase 2024

Testing Phase

We have now started our testing phase! During this phase we will be testing all our systems separately and in combination in order to optimalize the performance of our boat. This phase is very exciting, as we will working towards getting our boat running fully on hydrogen, and foiling above the waves! We first started with basic electrical tests, to see if the systems we designed also work in a reliable way.

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After the electrical tests, we continued with hydrogen system tests. The tubing was pressure tested and all connections checked on leakages. Then the cooling was connected to the fuel cell. We electrically turned on the fuel cell, and after a lot of troubleshooting, we managed to get the hydrogen systems up and running reliably. We then successfully sailed on hydrogen! This meant we could also look into the next part of the testing phase: the foiling systems.

The hydrofoils were succesfully attached to the three struts underneath the boat. We dry-tested the system also completely on land, and then we were fully confident on the first sailing tests with the height control system. The roll (sideways movement, so port to starboard) and pitch (front-back movement, the rising and falling of the bow and stern) stability were tested first. After this was verified, the height control part was also tested, and it was successful as you can see in the photo!


After the succesful inland water tests, we now are fully prepared for rougher conditions: the open sea. We moved the boat and all materials needed for testing to the harbour of Scheveningen, where we will finetune the height control system on bigger waves, get some more experience with sailing on sea and having the bon voyage event. This will be the ceremonial opening of the weather window.


The Crossing

On July 11th, we embarked on a historic journey across the North Sea, traveling from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom. Departing from Breskens Harbour in the Netherlands, we set sail towards our destination, Ramsgate in the United Kingdom. Upon arrival, we proudly made history as the first fully hydrogen-powered boat to successfully cross the North Sea!



We left in the morning from Breskens harbour in the Netherlands. Shortly after departure, however, we ran into some technical difficulties with a broken cooling pump. Being unable to fix this on sea, we made a short pit stop at the harbour of Zeebrugge so that our land crew could assist us in replacing this part, before quickly sailing back out to sea! After this we enjoyed a long trip on the open waters with some minor technical problems, which we were all able to solve remotely from our support vessel or by the pilots themselves. 

After sailing 169,1 kilometres with only 12.3 kilograms of hydrogen, we met up with our land crew again, who drove approximately 250 kilometres along the coast. Finally, we arrived at 22:40 local time at Ramsgate Royal Harbour. We are so proud of what we have achieved, and are so grateful to everyone who has supported us this year to make this goal possible!