Drift positions itself as a new class of mobile renewable energy which harvests green hydrogen at sea. According to its website, its sustainably built vessels will “combine energy generation with storage and distribution”.
In July the company successfully produced green hydrogen from its first purpose-built hydrofoil sailboat on its maiden voyage. The next phase will see its development.

Pawson is a Chartered Engineer and a Member of the Royal Institute of Naval Architecture with experience in rigs, foils and hull development. He has previously been involved in designing and building award winning sailing yacht hulls and commercial service vessels.  

Mackay has over six years’ experience as a Naval Architect with a focus on ship concept design, focusing on the development of concept requirements towards functional design. He proposed and ran multiple funded R&D programmes within Frazer-Nash, the leading systems, engineering and technology firm, and has four years’ experience of setting up and running a start-up R&D company. 

Ben Medland, CEO and Co-Founder, DRIFT Energy, said, “These two appointments are crucial to get Drift Energy to the next stage of its development. We are scaling up our current two prototype energy yachts to bigger boats that can produce significant amounts of green hydrogen. Neal and Michael will be spearheading the development of that larger vessel.”
With high energy prices, and the race to net-zero, countries are looking to increase the resilience of their energy networks, increase self-sufficiency and source cheaper, more flexible, home-grown sources of green power.  

Pawson said, “There is significant potential for Drift to develop commercial energy generating vessels that, through harnessing nature’s weather systems, can deliver green hydrogen in a scalable manner that can have an impact on decarbonising the world.”

Mackay said he was particularly excited to work “on innovative solutions that will accelerate the climate transition”.The flying (hydro-foiling) green hydrogen-producing energy yacht, unveiled in the summer, can travel up to 25 knots (just under 30mph). A propeller beneath the waves drives a turbine and produces electricity to split water into green hydrogen and oxygen.