Italian start-up h2boat has developed a very promising hydrogen technology which reduces the CO2 emission of maritime transport. With the help of the EU initiative BlueInvest, it has received coaching to expand its business.
The challenge: reducing CO2 emissions
While maritime transport plays an essential role in the EU economy and is one of the most energy-efficient modes of transport, it is also a large and growing source of greenhouse gas emissions, representing 3 to 4% of the EU’s total CO2 emissions, or over 144 million tonnes of CO2 in 2019. As the EU moves away from its dependency on fossil fuel, renewable energy will play a key role in the future of maritime transportation, and for delivering on the aim set out in the European Green Deal of achieving carbon-neutrality in the EU by 2050.
A solution for leisure boats: hydrogen
With green transportation gaining importance, the innovative Italy-based start-up h2boat is eager to revolutionise boating through its hydrogen technology that can be installed on both sailing or motorboats, potentially making them 100% energy sustainable and extremely functional. h2boat’s avant-garde product ‘Energy Pack’ comprises a system that uses hydrogen technology to make leisure boats autonomous in terms of their electrical needs on board.
It consists of three parts
- a fuel cell, able to produce electricity from hydrogen
- an accumulation system for storing large quantities of hydrogen safely at low temperatures and low pressures
- an electrolyzer, producing hydrogen from water using excess energy produced from renewable sources
The ‘Energy Pack’ efficiently integrates these components on board the boat and is virtuous and circular: it consumes water to store energy, it emits water to produce energy. It decisively contributes to the reduction of localised CO2 emissions while drastically reducing noise, odors and vibrations on board. It also contributes to the construction of zero-impact boats that can access otherwise closed marine protected areas
BlueInvest in action: h2boat receives coaching to reach new markets
With a customer base that comprises both B2C (mainly northern Europe, Benelux) and B2B clients (mostly in France and Italy), h2boat approached BlueInvest to improve its market and investment readiness and its reach to potential investors.
Through sessions with their BlueInvest coach, h2boat has specifically worked on its business plan to boost its growth. According to CEO Thomas Lamberti, in charge of the company’s R&D efforts, BlueInvest mentorship programme “helped us clarify our vision and refocus and adapt”. Initially focused on easier-to-build smaller hydrogen systems, h2boat reoriented its business priorities: it decided to focus instead on superyachts and megayachts in view of the sharp market rise for those larger boats. The start-up also shifted from the sole provision of its product to provision of services, knowledge and design, particularly for large applications, such as shipyards.
h2boat currently has ambitious fundraising plans and is hoping to convince prospective investors to offer them a reasonable valuation by the end of 2022.
EU-supported BlueInvest Readiness Assistance is an exclusive coaching programme for high potential EU start-ups and SMEs with innovative and sustainable products and solutions for the blue economy. Businesses and projects selected for Investment Readiness Assistance will receive coaching packages tailored specifically to their readiness levels and business objectives. The programme is impact-driven, with a clear focus on providing business support to help startups and SMEs build capacities for growth and attract investment.
Interested? Apply now by registering to the BlueInvest Community and completing the dedicated Readiness Assistance application form. The current application deadline is the 13th of January 2023. For any questions, reach out to us at lu_blueinvestpwc [dot] com (lu_blueinvest[at]pwc[dot]com)
We have moulded our business model as per the needs of the market — and the demand is higher now for yachts. After Covid, the superyachts market saw a sharp rise. Thanks to BlueInvest, we were able to make the most of this opportunity.
Thomas Lamberti, CEO, h2boat
- Publication date
- 30 November 2022
- Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries