Greening the Maritime Industry with Hydrogen

Hugo Azin and Clémence Tissot share their experience participating in the Student Competition held on HMS Protector in June 2022.

Earlier this year, the British Consulate in Montreal invited university teams from Quebec to participate in a three-month competition to find the best student-developed solution to greening the shipping industry with hydrogen.

The competition gave students the opportunity to develop their skills and expertise in hydrogen-based fuels and provide transformational solutions for a complex global issue.

On 10 June, finalists were invited aboard HMS Protector to pitch their concepts to a panel of judges. This panel included Marie Lapointe (Hydrogène Québec), Pierre Bénard (Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières), Kathy Baig (Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec) and Captain M K Ingham (HMS PROTECTOR).

After much deliberation, judges named the team from McGill University winners of the 2022 Student Competition. Later this year, they will head to the UK as part of their prize.

The runners up were granted the opportunity to spend the day aboard HMS Protector as she travelled from Montreal to Quebec City. They share their experience in the blog below.


As part of the British Consulate’s 2022 Student Competition “Greening the Maritime Industry with Hydrogen”, we proposed an innovative solution to decarbonise HMS Protector. Our idea was to replace its diesel engines with hydrogen fuel cells. We recognize that hydrogen would not provide the ship with as much autonomy as diesel for the same storage volume. To overcome this constraint, we therefore proposed to increase hydrogen production aboard using solar panels while a giant surf sail kite in order to help with the ship’s mechanical traction while reducing the consumption of hydrogen.

During the course of this competition, we realized that in order to effectively decarbonise the maritime industry, we would not only have to rethink the way we design ships but also how we exist in society. Above all, decarbonising activities involve consuming less as a whole.


Following our presentation, we were invited to join HMS Protector for her journey on the St Lawrence River from Montreal to Quebec City. We boarded the ship in the early hours of the morning, heading straight to the bridge where we were able listen to the Captain’s brief.  From the bridge, we saw great views of Montreal as we departed and an inside look at the expertise needed to operate such a large ship.

Throughout the day, we had the opportunity to learn about different crewmembers and their roles. Most interesting to us was a visit to the engineering and machinery rooms of the ship. The rooms consisted of a control system, engines and other machines, which supply the boat with energy (either electricity or heat).

It was a pleasure to spend a day aboard HMS Protector learning about the ship and the British Royal Navy. Many thanks to the Captain and crew, and to the British High Commission for this unforgettable experience!

Clémence Tissot

Clémence is doing her end-of-study internship at Hydro-Quebec’s Research Centre (IREQ) in partnership with the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi in order to validate her double degree in electrical engineering at Heriot Watt in Scotland and ENSEM in France. She has carried out several projects in the field of electrical engineering and renewable energies, including with EDF in France and with Northern Energy Innovation research team in Yukon, where she sought to integrate a greater share of renewable energies into the grid in isolated networks of northern Canada. Today, she works on optimization of mathematical models of high-voltage electrical devices at IREQ and will soon join the RTE team in France.

Hugo Azin

Hugo is a student at ÉTS Montreal, doing a double degree with his engineering school in France, ENSEM, a school specialised in energy. He is currently doing a master’s degree in renewable energies and finds meaning in his work, acting to accelerate the energy transition. He has already carried out several projects in this field, such as the creation of a methanizer, a plan to install charging stations for electric cars and a project to charging stations for electric cars or the development of energy strategies in the consulting firm Greenflex in Paris. He is currently  working on his research paper on the decarbonisation of the mining industry using green hydrogen.