Cochin Shipyard has signed a MoU with the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) to build the country’s first hydrogen fuel cell catamaran for operation in Varanasi and electric hybrid vessels for Uttar Pradesh and Assam.

The public sector yard has also inked an MoU for the construction of six electric catamaran vessels for UP and another two for Assam. Introduction of the 100-passenger capacity air-conditioned hydrogen cell vessel in Varanasi will pave the way for a reduction in usage of fossil fuels in the country’s national waterways.

The vessel will be deployed at Varanasi after test and trial runs in Kochi. It would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 250 tonnes annually.

Based on the success of the project, the technology could be adopted for greening of cargo vessels and small country craft, and enabling a significant reduction in pollution in the national waterways, said a CSL release

The Hydrogen Fuel Cell catamaran is designed for short-distance commutes in riverine waters, with air-conditioned seating for 100 passengers and large windows for a panoramic view of the surroundings.