Friday, March 7, 2014
Port of Honolulu to provide clean hydrogen fuel cell power to docked ships
The Port of Honolulu will soon provide low-emissions power to docked ships through a high tech hydrogen fuel cell auxiliary power system.
Now that the pre-pilot study and analysis has been completed, the port plans to feature a highly portable, self-contained hydrogen fuel cell unit at the dock starting in 2015. The fuel cell unit will be able to provide power when floating on a barge or sitting on a dock, and can be easily moved to wherever power is needed.
Hydrogen researchers from Sandia National Laboratories and their partners are developing the unit to address water and air pollution problems at large ports.
“No one has ever built this kind of custom unit for this purpose,” explained Sandia’s project manager, Joe Pratt. “The unit will fit inside a 20-foot shipping container and will consist of four 30-kilowatt fuel cells, a hydrogen storage system and power conversion equipment.”
The system will be delivered to and deployed by Young Brothers, a project partner and shipping company that transports goods throughout the Hawaiian Islands, according to Sandia. The unit will undergo engineering and design processes through mid-2014. Young Brothers is a subsidiary of Foss Maritime Company.
After conducting a study of various ports in 2013, Sandia analyzed Young Brother’s shipping operations in more detail. Like many operators, the company uses diesel engine generators to provide power to refrigerated containers.
“We compared the efficiencies of their diesel engines versus fuel cells, studied the energy efficiencies at various power levels and estimated the savings and reductions in emissions that would be realized if they were to convert to a fuel cell-powered operation,” stated Pratt.
“Analyses have shown that when generators are frequently producing less than maximum power, such as in the Hawaii application, the efficiency advantage of fuel cells compared to the combustion engine increases.”
Thanks to these results, the project is now continuing with funding from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration.
Researchers involved are hoping the 6-month hydrogen fuel cell pilot project leads to the development of a commercially viable technology that could be used at ports worldwide.
For more of the Clean Technica story: cleantechnica.com
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