DRIFT Energy has successfully produced green hydrogen gas using its first purpose-built hydrofoil sailboat in sea trials. The sea trials of these ground-breaking energy yachts took place off the coast of Brightlingsea, Essex earlier this month. The trials managed to produce approximately six liters of green hydrogen over a two hour test run. The trial was so successful that the energy yacht outperformed expectations and could have produced over ten times more of the green renewable gas. DRIFT, having proven the concept are progressing plans for vessels capable of 250,000 liters per hour or more. DRIFT Energy’s business is pioneering this type of energy yacht design, but the secret ingredient is in using the power of data to find ptimal weather conditions in which to route the vessels when at sea. This routing algorithm is critical to DRIFT’s operations and unlocks a unique advantage over other renewable classes, by making green energy mobile. Artificial intelligence firm Faculty found that a flotilla of DRIFT’s energy yachts, operating from Penzance, could achieve a load factor of 72.5%. By comparison verified load factors for wind turbines in the UK are 26.5% for onshore wind farms and 39.9% for offshore wind farms. Faculty’s research into wind speeds across the North Atlantic indicates a load factor of 77% could be achieved off the coast of New York and, at some locations in the mid-Atlanti load factors of 82% could be attained. Faculty was asked by DRIFT to develop a routing algorithm that can continually optimize the course of the vessels to maintain the highest possible utilization of the ship. DRIFT’s boats will sail the ocean, which has wind speeds, wind orientations and wave heights that vary by the hour. Given a forecast of the environmental conditions, the task was to determine how far the rate of energy generation can be optimized over a specific time window. In optimizing the route, rather than just look at the next best move the boat could make, Faculty's algorithm looks several time-steps ahead so that it can take a more strategic approach to where the best winds will be – just like a chess player viewing a board. The next phase of the work may look at issues such as the positioning of offshore docks, energy potentials in other oceans such as the Pacific and the impact of climate change to routing behaviour. To benefit from the load factors uncovered, DRIFT intends to conduct further sea trials, and increase the number of boats available to generate energy. DRIFT’s energy yacht was built by the White Formula of Brightlingsea, a third generation boatbuilder with Olympic gold medal winning heritage.