Hydrogen generated from renewables-sourced electricity can power fuel cells on tugs docking ships and power harbour infrastructure
Harbour authorities can use hydrogen fuel cells to power marine service vessels, loading ships and port assets. They could consider a combined approach to commercialise fuel cell technology and cut vessel emissions, said Cummins director of new initiatives for fuel cell and hydrogen technologies Ryan Sookhoo.
Maritime and port industries need to scale fuel cell production into the megawatt range and grow the infrastructure required for bunkering. They will need to collaborate with partners to determine how that scaling can happen, said Mr Sookhoo.
“Ports really are unique in that they provide great synergy for hydrogen adoption,” he said.
“The success of fuel cell land-based technology like trucks, material handling equipment and stationary fuel will enable the infrastructure to be in place to support marine vessels.”
This includes tugs assisting ships into dock and out of harbours. Power could also be transferred to ships during dockings.
“By combining land-based applications for fuel cells with water-based technology, you can build a very large capacity station, which will yield lower cost per kilogram for the fuel,” said Mr Sookhoo.
Hydrogen infrastructure at a port can connect fuel cell applications together, Mr Sookhoo explained. It could be used for backup power for land transport and refuelling marine vessels.
Synergies for ports comes from maximising the existing items in refuelling infrastructure, instead of starting from scratch building a hydrogen station at ports.
“The success of one enables another, when land and water fuel cell applications are connected,” said Mr Sookhoo. He advocates using new, but proven, technology for “leveraging existing hydrogen safety protocols and standards” and the distribution network.
“We need to work with regulatory bodies to understand how the refuelling aspect would look for a marine vessel and differ from land, because we are leveraging common equipment,” he continued. “But we also need to define what is unique to maritime.”
There will be tough requirements for ensuring hydrogen fuel cell technology on tugs is safe, but this could be achieved through class, regulators and IMO guidance.
Ports could improve the environmental performance of hydrogen fuel cells by generating hydrogen fuel from renewable sources.
Cummins’ offers a complete turnkey power solution for ports’ hydrogen power ecosystem, including for vessel electrification and fuelling. It provides charging stations, microgrids, hydrogen production modules, system control, switchgear and backup power. On the digital side, Cummins supplies real-time communications, prognostic, diagnostics and operational optimisation services.
Hydrogen fuel cell implementation is for the future, but for this year, Cummins has introduced a new generator for workboats and recreational vessels. Its Onan C-Power QSB7E generator comes with electrical output of up to 195 kW and generates alternating current at 50 Hz or 60 Hz.
Cummins marine business development manager Michel Kozulic said QSB7E has commonality with its proven commercial marine generator portfolio. It can come with an aluminium sound enclosure and single-side service access.
Cummins has introduced water-cooled exhaust and multiple outlets for fuel and battery cables. It has developed 12 QSB7E models, while Cummins’ range of marine generators includes Onan models from 4 kW to 65 kW and auxiliary power supply for commercial vessels up to 3,132 kW.