Portable Hydrogen Fuel Cell Unit to Clean Up Port of Honolulu

By: | March 29th, 2014

The hydrogen fuel cell unit will fit in a 20-foot shipping container. Photo © Young Brothers, Ltd.

Marine ports are major hubs of economic activity and major sources of pollution. Huge ships running on the dirtiest fuel available, diesel trucks visits, mile-long diesel locomotives hauling cargo and other polluting equipment at marine ports seriously impact the environment.

To avoid the pollution, the Port of Honolulu will soon be trying out a mobile hydrogen fuel cell unit — providing clean low-emissions power to docked and/or anchored ships.

The new project is being headed by hydrogen researchers from Sandia National Laboratories; fuel cell unit is being built by Hydrogenics Corp, while the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute will procure the hydrogen.

Here are some of the specifications of this project:

  • This self-contained hydrogen fuel cell unit will fit inside a shipping container, and could be towed around the port on a barge.
  • The unit will comprise of four 30-kilowatt fuel cells, a hydrogen storage system and power conversion equipment, all housed inside a single 20-foot (6.1-m) shipping container.
  • This state-of-the-art hydrogen fuel cell auxiliary power system would be deployed to the dock in 2015.
  • The fuel cell unit will be able to provide power whether floating on a barge or parked on a dock and will be easily transportable to wherever electrical power is needed.

As per Sandia’s calculations, the fuel and energy savings should be significant, while the reduction in emissions should be particularly dramatic.

If all goes according to plan and the project tursn out to be a practical and affordable solution, other units would be trialed at other ports.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. You can also find Nidhi on Google+.

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