BY Anna Cummins on 6 Jun 2023

The OceansLab race boat will compete with zero fossil fuels aboard


OceansLab has partnered with clean energy firms Genevos, Oceanvolt and Maxeon Solar Technologies as it ramps up the campaign to become the world’s first hydrogen-electric race yacht.

The OceansLab race boat will compete in the IMOCA Globe Series exclusively with zero fossil fuels aboard, emitting only water as a hydrogen fuel cell by-product. The vessel will take part in transatlantic races including the Transat Jacques Vabre, the Route du Rhum, and around-the-world races the Vendée Globe, and The Ocean Race.

The OceansLab IMOCA is currently under construction and will be launched later this year, ahead of the first transatlantic ocean race, the Transat Jacques Vabre, starting in October 2023.

Genevos, a cleantech spin-off of OceansLab, will provide a turnkey hydrogen power solution, supplying both a 15 kW marine fuel cell, and an ‘HPM-15’, in addition to gas engineering services.


Genevos will define the strategy for power management and energy efficiency optimisation and manage the hydrogen integration engineering in line with stringent marine safety standards.

Maxeon Solar Technologies will be the official solar supplier to OceansLab, and will provide an advanced solar cell that operates at 24.8 per cent efficiency. Maxeon’s flagship Interdigitated Back Contact (IBC) cells will be encapsulated into a protective film to ensure resistance against water and impact.

Over 1,000 solar cells will be installed onto the deck of the IMOCA, covering 16 m2, capable of creating a total power output of more than 3.6kW, energy used to charge the batteries.

“We are pleased to be involved in such an ambitious project. Sailing the oceans requires an unprecedented level of performance and durability, making our unique solar cell technology the sole and best choice for OceansLab,” says Bill Mulligan, Maxeon’s CEO.

“The boat features the same high efficiency, high-reliability cells as those found in our record efficiency solar panels powering homes, businesses and utility-scale power plants on land, worldwide – a true testament to our innovation as a global solar leader.”


Phil Sharp is the skipper of OceansLab IMOCA

Electric propulsion systems specialist Oceanvolt says it is partnering with OceansLab to combine Oceanvolt’s expertise in electric power and propulsion systems for boats with the endurance and sustainability of hydrogen fuel cell technology.

“This collaboration will provide valuable insight and data that will assist in the further development of Oceanvolt’s unique electric propulsion systems compatibility with hydrogen fuel cell technology. The ultimate goal is to bring increasingly sustainable and reliable solutions to the market specifically designed for racing purposes. This is not just great news for Oceanvolt and OceansLab, but for the whole yachting community as well,” adds Tommi Lassila, CEO of Oceanvolt.

The OceansLab race boat will be skippered by British single-handed sailor Phil Sharp. “We are delighted to welcome such forward-thinking progressive organisations to the OceansLab family,” he says. It is only by collaborating with clean technology enablers that the maritime sector will be able to make this urgent shift to clean energy a reality.

“The OceansLab programme allows us to showcase the performance and durability of this technology in the toughest environment on earth. With the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) targets for shipping emissions required to be reduced to zero by 2050, and the requirement for most vessels built from 2030 to be zero emissions, this campaign will be an important demonstration of how we can meet this target.”

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