Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Unit to Provide Renewable Power to Honolulu Port

Pete Devlin, of the Department of Energy’s Fuel Cell Technology Office, cut the ribbon to initiate the Maritime Hydrogen Fuel Cell project to test a hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered generator at Young Brothers Ltd.’s Port of Honolulu facility. Left to right: Mark Glick, Hawaii State Energy Office, Glenn Hong, Young Brothers Ltd., Pete Devlin, John Quinn, US Dept. of Transportation Maritime Administration, and Marianne Walck, Sandia National Laboratories.

Pete Devlin, of the Department of Energy’s Fuel Cell Technology Office, cut the ribbon to initiate the Maritime Hydrogen Fuel Cell project to test a hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered generator at Young Brothers Ltd.’s Port of Honolulu facility. Left to right: Mark Glick, Hawaii State Energy Office, Glenn Hong, Young Brothers Ltd., Pete Devlin, John Quinn, US Dept. of Transportation Maritime Administration, and Marianne Walck, Sandia National Laboratories.

At Young Brothers Ltd.’s Port of Honolulu facility, Sandia is leading the Maritime Hydrogen Fuel Cell project to test a hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered generator as an alternative to conventional diesel generators. Last Friday’s project kickoff was attended by US Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), Young Brothers President Glenn Hong, & Sandia-California VP Marianne Walck. “Today, we take another big step in transforming our nation to a clean energy economy,” said Schatz. “The fuel cell technology being deployed today will one day mean less carbon pollution in our ports and on the high seas. The great work from all the partners involved, especially Young Brothers, is helping lead the way to a cleaner, more energy-efficient future.”

Planning for the Maritime Hydrogen Fuel Cell project began in late 2012 with a study that determined that hydrogen fuel cells could replace diesel generators in providing auxiliary power on board and to ships at berth. The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office and the US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) are funding the six-month deployment of the hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered generator.

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“We are pleased to help expand this clean energy technology to new applications,” said Young Brothers, Ltd., President Glenn Hong. Young Brothers is hosting a project led by Sandia National Laboratories to test a hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered generator as an alternative to diesel in powering refrigerated containers. (Photo by David Murphy)

“At the point of use, hydrogen fuel cells produce nothing but water—zero pollutant emissions and no greenhouse gases,” said Joe Pratt, Sandia’s project lead. “This technology could enable major commercial ports and marine vessels to lessen their environmental impacts.”

An analysis by Sandia and DOE showed that due to fluctuating loads in maritime auxiliary power applications, a hydrogen fuel cell, which only supplies power when it is needed, is more energy efficient than a diesel engine.

Hydrogenics Corp. designed and built the hydrogen fuel-cell generator unit, comprised of four 30 kW fuel cells, a hydrogen storage system and power-conversion equipment, all packaged in a 20 ft shipping container. With 75 kg of on-board hydrogen storage, the generator has enough energy to power 10 refrigerated containers for 20 continuous hours of operation.

“Young Brothers will be testing and demonstrating this technology on our on-shore and ocean environments over the next six months,” said Hong. “We are very pleased to have been selected to participate in this project with our many national and international partners in expanding this clean technology into new applications.”

Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu is supplying the hydrogen to power the fuel cell. The hydrogen is produced by electrolysis, the process of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen—using electricity supplied by Hickam’s solar-powered electric grid.

To learn more, visit Sandia’s Maritime Hydrogen website.

Read the Sandia news release.