Hydrogen fuel could be a boon for ships in the US

Hydrogen fuel could be a boon for ships in the US

July 3, 2013 0 By Erin Kilgore

Hydrogen fuel cells may soon have a more prominent role in the maritime space

Hydrogen fuel cells have been receiving a lot of attention for their capabilities to power vehicles, but these energy systems could have the potential to power larger vehicles that have massive energy requirements. In the U.S., researchers from Sandia National Laboratories have released a new report concerning the benefits of using hydrogen fuel cells to power ships and equipment that can be found at seaports. Researchers suggest that these energy systems could be a powerful tool to help ships break away from fossil-fuels.

Report shows that docked ships consume large amounts of electrical power

Many seafaring vassals make use of diesel engines while the travel. When these ships are docked, they rely heavily on diesel-powered generators to provide them with the electricity they need. This makes ships a major contributor of greenhouse gases. The report suggests that docked ships alone account for nearly half of the emissions that seafaring vessels are responsible for. In order to cut back on emissions, a new energy source may be required for ships and hydrogen fuel cells may be perfectly suited for such a task.

Hydrogen fuel for shipsSingle fuel cell could power a large ship

The report claims that conventional hydrogen fuel cells are capable of meeting the energy needs of most docked ships. For most of these ships, which can vary from large transport barges to small tugboats, a single hydrogen fuel system can meet their in-port energy needs. Researchers suggest that a single 1.4 megawatt hydrogen fuel cell could effectively power a docked ship for 48 hours.

Researchers say hydrogen fuel cells are cost competitive

As in all cases concerning hydrogen fuel, the issue of cost has garnered attention. Sandia researchers took into account the average cost of hydrogen fuel today and found that fuel cells are cost competitive with more conventional energy systems relying on combustion engines. As such, the use of fuel cells could save the maritime sector tens of thousands of dollars every year.