In an effort to reduce idling ship emissions at port, a hydrogen fuel cell pilot project will provide power to ships, without burning a drop of fuel.
Idling, from tractor-trailers to container ships, is simply a waste of fuel, generating emissions for now good reason. Unfortunately, the practice is ongoing, since onboard systems, such as crew quarters, HVAC, and refrigeration, need a running electric generator to keep them going. on ships, this means a running internal combustion engine, typically running on diesel or bunker fuel, which is obscenely dirty. The picturesque island of Oahu, Hawaii, runs a large port operation near the capital, Honolulu. The installation of a “portable” hydrogen fuel cell might help to reduce emissions in the area.
Of course, since we’re talking about container ships, “portable” is really just a relative term. the hydrogen fuel cell power system actually fits in a standard shipping container, the currency, if you will, of a port / shipyard. the shipping container is self-contained, with four 30 kW hydrogen fuel cell modules, hydrogen fuel storage tanks, and power conversion equipment. When a ship docks for loading / offloading, the container can be parked right on the deck, hooked up to the ship, providing enough power for the ship, without resorting to the use of the onboard generators.
Shipping company Young Brothers, Limited, working with Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), will be testing the hydrogen fuel cell power project for six months in 2015. Hydrogenics is building the unit and the hydrogen fuel will br supplied by the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute. Joe Pratt, of SNL, said of the project, “We compared the efficiencies of their diesel engines versus fuel cells, studying the energy efficiencies at various power levels and estimated the savings and reductions in emissions,” expecting a dramatic decrease in fuel consumption, refueling costs, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Image © Young Brothers, Limited