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the towboat sector

e1 Marine’s use of methanol for onboard, on-demand generation of hydrogen for PEM fuel cells solves the challenges of decarbonizing the marine towboat sector.

Inland Waterways

Vessel Dimensions
  • Length Overall: 100’ 

  • Design Draft: 9’ 

  • Beam Maximum: 43’ 

  • Hull Depth Amidships: 11’

  • Design Speed:  10mph / 7 mph pushing 

  • Horsepower: 1,700 to 3,500  

  • Range: 550 miles 

  • Duration: 4 days at 6 mph

Power & Propulsion
  • Hydrogen Reformers: e1 Marine 

  • Thrusters: (2) BERG MTA417 Electric L Drive 

  • Fuel Cells: PowerCell PS185

  • Diesel Generator: Cummins QSM-DM 225 kW 

  • Batteries: Corvus Lithium Ion 

  • Note: No Shore Power required 

  • Methanol Fuel: Specifications upon request 

  • Total Berths: 9 (3 private / 3 double) 

  • Water Fuel: Specifications upon request 

  • Fresh Water: 7,000 GAL 

  • Hydrogen Reserve: Specifications upon request 

  • Wash Water: 5,000 GAL 

  • Battery Capacity: Specifications upon request 

  • Sewage: 5,000 GAL 

Hydrogen power for the marine sector: onsite, onboard and on-demand.

Learn more about how hydrogen power can work for you.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that hydrogen is going to be the preferred future fuel for shipping, and methanol is the best way to deliver it onboard, safely and efficiently.

Methanol offers both immediate solutions and long-term benefits as the feed stock of choice.  It can be easily stored and transported – and combined with water on-the-go to increase its hydrogen producing capacity even further.

Hydrogen produced by onboard reformation of methanol and water can enable shipowners to stay ahead of the future requirements of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) and to take advantage of future decarbonisation technologies as they mature.

On-board hydrogen generation for fuel cells – providing main propulsion power in a safe, economic and environmentally friendly manner.

Hydrogen – the way of the future for inland waterway vessels
e1 Marine’s proprietary technology produces hydrogen at the point of consumption, eliminating the logistical challenges and costs of storing and transporting compressed hydrogen. 

The fuel grade hydrogen meets ISO 14687 (2019) Purity Standards, and the technology presents compelling environmental and cost-saving advantages: 


  • Low Carbon – An immediate solution to reduce emissions: no particulate matter, zero NOx, Sox and  PM emissions, as well as CO2 reduction of 23% compared with diesel 

  • Versatility – highly scalable to increase the vessel range beyond the limits of stored compressed hydrogen.  

  • Efficiency – the methanol reformer is up to 84% efficient, with reduced noise (80 dB), and integrates easily with all PEM fuel cell systems 

  • Reliable and compact: Few moving parts, low maintenance, reduced space and weight maximizes vessel hold capacity. 

e1 Marine’s Mobile Methanol to Hydrogen Generator  
Decarbonizing inland waterways

Some of the historic challenges with alternative power sources include batteries only being suitable if you operate on fixed routes and can recharge daily, and a towboat’s limited storage capacity restricts the use of pressurised or cryogenically stored gases as fuels. There are also very few dockside facilities to load such marine fuels, which severely constrains a vessel’s range and functionality.

Producing hydrogen on board to supply PEM fuel cells for electric main propulsion changes all that.

Methanol reformer hydrogen-powered tow boat.

MV Hydrogen One is a tow vessel development prototype designed by e1 Marine and Elliott Bay Design Group. It has been built for operation and testing in the Gulf of Mexico Intracoastal Waterways with two barge (unit 2) towing capability. The vessel requires max power at 90% of running time, operating 24 hours a day with a fuel range of up to 4 days.

  • Refuel safely and conveniently virtually anywhere 

  • 1,400 hp continuous fuel cell only 

  • Battery boost provides 30+ minutes at 2,000 hp 

  • Scalable powerplant within specified vessel dimension 

  • Horsepower can be increased up to 3,500 with proportionate increase in vessel length 

  • 12+ hours dockside with zero emission and no shore power connection 

  • L-drive propulsion for optimal manoeuvrability 

Powertrain Summary 

Main propulsion 2,000 hp  

From twin propulsors of 1,000 hp each 

Onboard hydrogen generators: Ten e1 Marine M18 Hydrogen Generators 

Fuel Cell Power: Ten PowerCell PS185 fuel cell power modules

MV Hydrogen One
M/V Hydrogen One – the world’s first hydrogen powered towboat

The world’s first methanol ­fueled towboat is set to join the fleet of Metairie, La.-based Maritime Partners LLC to meet the pressing demand for sus­tainable towboat operations.


The vessel, the M/V Hydrogen One, will be IMO 2030 compliant, meet the USCG’s Subchapter M requirements, and have an operational range of 550 miles before refueling. Maritime Partners, in cooper­ation with Elliott Bay Design Group, and CL Marine, are developing it.

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