Drift Energy vessel prototype producing green hydrogen

DRIFT Energy expands vessel programme with two senior hires

Sep 23, 2022

Expansion follows world first of successfully producing green hydrogen and unveiling the prototypes to the public at SailGP

Southampton, Wednesday 21 September 2022DRIFT Energy is announcing today that it is expanding its vessel programme with the appointment of Neal Pawson as its Head of Vessel Programme and Michael Mackay as its Head of Vessel Design.

DRIFT Energy is a new class of mobile renewable energy which harvests green hydrogen at sea, with a view global delivery and distribution. In July the company successfully produced green hydrogen from its first purpose-built hydrofoil sailboat on its maiden voyage. The next phase is to move at pace to develop the next generation vessels.

Neal-Pawson, Head-of-Vessel-Programme, DRIFT-Energy

Neal Pawson is a Chartered Engineer and a Member of the Royal Institute of Naval Architecture.  He has deep experience and understanding of the development of innovative and successful marine craft.  Neal has previously been involved in designing and building award winning sailing yacht hulls and commercial service vessels.  Crucially he has a background in rig, foil and hull development.


MIke Mackay, Head-of-Vessel-Design, DRIFT-Energy

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

Ben Medland, CEO and Co-Founder, DRIFT Energy says:

“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.”

DRIFT Energy will provide a robust distributed energy system, which will help the UK be more energy self-sufficient.  High energy prices, and the race to net-zero, mean countries across the world are looking to increase the resilience of their energy networks, increase self-sufficiency and source cheaper, more flexible, home-grown sources of green power.  At scale, DRIFT will be one such source.

Neal Pawson, Head of Vessel Programme, DRIFT Energy, says:

“I am very happy to be joining DRIFT Energy at this pivotal stage – where I know I can greatly contribute to the successful development of the company. 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.”

Michael Mackay, Head of Vessel Design, DRIFT Energy, says:

“I am very excited to be appointed DRIFT Energy’s Head of Vessel Design.  It is particularly exciting to working on innovative solutions that will accelerate the climate transition.”


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