MarAd starts field trials for Hawaii fuel cell project

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Maritime Administration (MarAd):

(WASHINGTON) (Aug. 28) — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration today celebrated the launch of field trials for the first prototype hydrogen fuel cell unit to power onboard refrigerated containers. MarAd, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy, provided $815,000 to fund the clean energy powered container unit that could pave the way to dramatically reduced harmful emissions at the Port of Honolulu.

‎”President Obama has consistently challenged us to find new ways to protect our environment while supporting our economy,” said Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. “Funding innovations like this can offer opportunities for an entire industry to reduce pollution while protecting their bottom line.”

Built into a standard 20-foot shipping container, the pilot hydrogen fuel cell unit will replace a diesel generator currently powering refrigerated containers both in port and while being transported on water by barges along routes between Honolulu and other Harbors by Young Brothers, a local shipper of goods within Hawaii.

“The Maritime Administration continues to fund innovative projects that support the U.S. maritime industry’s shift toward cleaner and more-sustainable power sources,” said Maritime Administrator Paul "Chip" Jaenichen. “This hydrogen fuel cell deployment project has the potential to reduce not just emissions, but costs to shippers, all while preserving the precious maritime environment.”

During the six-month deployment period, performance feedback and data will be recorded to determine the environmental, energy, and cost savings from the hydrogen fuel cell unit. Upon completion of testing, Sandia National Laboratories will analyze the operational, safety, and cost performance data to develop a business case for using hydrogen fuel cells for marine use.

MarAd has partnered with U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy and Efficiency to co-fund this pilot project. This study is part of MarAd’s Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance Program, in which the agency collaborates with government and industry stakeholders to develop alternative fuels and technology for marine applications.

By Professional Mariner Staff