Investing in DRIFT—new method of mobile renewable energy


Investing in DRIFT—new method of mobile renewable energy

Words Founders Factory

April 30th 2024 / 3 min read

The problem

The world needs more consistent, accessible, and affordable access to clean energy. 

Existing renewable energy sources are supporting the energy transition, but those efforts are hampered by intermittency, deployability and grid availability.  These factors compound when  relying upon storage or backup power to ensure consistent electricity supply.

There is also a growing demand for clean hydrogen in order to manage decarbonisation of hard-to-abate industries like heavy industry, transportation, manufacturing, and so on. Green hydrogen has a much lower carbon footprint—produced via electrolysis using renewable energy—compared to ‘grey’ hydrogen which is produced from natural gas through steam methane reforming. 

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The solution

DRIFT is simultaneously solving both of these problems through creating a fleet of green yachts that can harness wind, wave, and solar energy and convert it into hydrogen. This hydrogen is then stored onboard the ship, before being transported to hubs or ports in order to discharge. 

DRIFT’s vessels are powered by an innovative AI software that allows them to ‘sail goldilocks winds’, which ensures that the boats are fully optimised towards the best wind speed for operations.

The team

Ben Medland (CEO & Founder)

Ben combines an engineering background with a business mind for innovation. He spent 16 years at Accenture, where among other senior roles he was Managing Director for Digital Strategy and Ventures. He trained as a systems engineer, with one of his first roles working with BAE Systems on their Eurofighter programme. 

Neal Pawson (Head of Vessel Program)

Neal is a chartered engineer who brings over 25 years of designing, building, and running naval projects. Projects range from 100 seater ferries to racing sailboats to bespoke catamarans for the wind turbine industry. He is a Member of the Royal Institute of Naval Architecture.

Mike Mackay (Head of Vessel Design)

Mike is a naval architect with several years of experience working on offshore maritime projects. He spent 3 and a half years at Babcock, an international defence, aerospace and security company, and more recently as a consultant in marine technology.

Why we’re excited to invest

Olivia Brooks, investor at Blue Action Accelerator, says: “DRIFT has a novel and considered approach to producing sustainable hydrogen at sea. With the green hydrogen market demand rapidly increasing, DRIFT will help to make it more readily available, cost effective and less energy intensive. Their unique routing algorithm that allows them to ‘chase the wind’ is such an exciting component, meaning the production of hydrogen will be fully optimised whilst vessels are at sea. Ben is such a compelling and knowledgeable founder and we’re so excited to work with him and to see the team succeed.”

What they’re looking to gain from the programme

  • Tapping into the commercial reach of FF and BAA, providing access to the programme's extensive network of potential customer links including access to US and Caribbean market.

  • Guidance and assistance in planning for future Series A requirements and company scale out.

Building at the forefront of ocean and coastal health?

Learn more about Blue Action Accelerator

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