BOC: Powering Narrowboats with Hydrogen
BOC’s HYMERA is the world’s first commercially viable, low-carbon, hydrogen fuel cell generator and offers a convenient alternative to diesel generators. Hydrogen Industry Leaders investigates why HYMERA is so essential and how it is powering narrowboats with hydrogen.

Providing up to 175 watts of peak power whenever and wherever it is needed, HYMERA is explained by BOC as incorporating ground-breaking hydrogen fuel cell technology, which produces electricity from the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen from the air.

As it is supplied with readily available compressed hydrogen, HYMERA can support various commercial and industrial off-grid applications – such as task lighting on railways and tunnel maintenance work, security cameras, environmental monitoring, and process control systems.

Hydrogen Is Essential To Decarbonising The UK’s Social And Economic Future

Katie Mollon, Product Manager for BOC’s Hydrogen Stationary Power

Hydrogen Industry Leaders spoke to Katie Mollon, Product Manager for BOC’s Hydrogen Stationary Power.

Katie began by expressing that to reach our net zero targets, we must turn to hydrogen: “Decarbonisation remains vital to the United Kingdom’s social and economic future, and hydrogen will play a critical role in this.

“Hydrogen is an effective low-carbon solution to meeting the Government’s net zero targets by 2050 because there are several ways to produce it, efficient ways to store or transport it and it’s flexible in how it can be used.”

As a result, it is already starting to decarbonise heavy industries ranging from glass and steel manufacturing to mobility, with buses and HGVs.

We must move away from using diesel generators as BOC reveals in its HYMERA Brochure that a 50W camera powered by a conventional diesel generator will emit 2.5kg of carbon per hour. While the carbon footprint of the same camera, when powered by HYMERA and hydrogen, will be less than 20g per hour.

HYMERA Is A Cleaner Alternative To A Diesel Generator

Katie said that the HYMERA is important because “when used with our lightweight GENIE cylinder, it offers an emission-free, silent, safe and convenient alternative to diesel generators.

“The HYMERA’S emissions are water and oxygen, positioning it as a cleaner alternative to a diesel generator. It’s ideally suited to projects taking place in environmentally protected locations, such as in construction or security.”

More recently, it has been used as a domestic power source for narrowboats, demonstrating the technology’s potential for the leisure sector.

Continuing to discuss how the HYMERA is being used to power narrowboats, she said that when a narrowboat is stationary for an extended period without the engine running, the vessels’ batteries become depleted and require recharging.

"The HYMERA is one example of what we're doing to bring zero emission stationary power to a range of sectors." Katie Mollon, Product Manager for BOC's Hydrogen Stationary Power.


Katie said: “This is done by using a portable petrol generator or by restarting and idling the boat’s diesel engine, both of which produce noise and toxic emissions. Nick Swift, Director of Hydrogen Afloat Limited, has addressed this by using BOC’s HYMERA fuel cell and GENIE cylinders to charge boat batteries.

“The HYMERA runs silently with zero emissions other than water and a small amount of hydrogen. Hydrogen Afloat’s “HyArk” unit is designed to sit on the boat roof for gas safety.

“It is integrated with the boat’s electrical system such that in auto mode, the HYMERA will detect when battery voltage is low and turn on automatically.”

It’s a perfect use of the HYMERA, and we’re delighted to see the creation of this unique product for the leisure sector.

BOC Is Continuing To Find Effective Ways To Reduce Carbon

Katie finished by highlighting that BOC’s focus is reducing carbon emissions: “BOC is highly experienced in finding effective ways to reduce carbon emissions.”

She continued: “We’re working with partners and customers to help decarbonise film sets, construction projects and more. It’s an exciting field and one in which our long history and reputation for safely delivering hydrogen can help us achieve net zero.”

The HYMERA is essential to the UK achieving its net zero targets and demonstrates how it can be used to decarbonise multiple sectors, from leisure to construction.

Scott Chudleigh, Hydrogen Business Development Manager at BOC, will be speaking about storing, producing, and distributing hydrogen at the HIL Scotland Conference 2022 on 22 November 2022 at Radisson BLU, Glasgow. Click here to find out how you can get involved in the event.