Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Solar-Powered Hydrogen Fuel Cell Project to Reduce Carbon Emissions at Hawaii Port

Business

A new hydrogen fuel cell generator has been set up in the Port of Honolulu, Hawaii, at the shipping facility of Young Brothers Ltd. The unit is already providing power to refrigerated containers on shore and it will soon be powering the same refrigerated containers on Young Brothers’ barges that ship goods to Hawaii’s other islands, according to a statement from Sandia National Laboratories.

“We are pleased to help expand this clean energy technology to new applications,” said Young Brothers President Glenn Hong (pictured above). Photo credit: David Murphey

“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.”

Hydrogen fuel cells are a hotly debated issue, though, because most projects use natural gas as the power source and it's still seen as cost-prohibitive on a commercial scale. But this project is hoping to change all that. Thanks to the Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, the hydrogen is coming from a renewable power source: solar.

The hydrogen is produced by electrolysis, the process of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, which requires electricity. The electricity for this project is supplied by Hickam’s solar-powered electrical grid. Ships at the port most often rely on diesel generators.

"Emissions from those generators weren’t a particular priority until recent years, when the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection began taking a closer look at air quality in U.S. port cities," said Clean Technica.

Air pollution from U.S. port cities is among the most poorly regulated sources of pollution, according to the Natural Resource Defense Council. "The result is that most U.S. ports are heavy polluters, releasing largely unchecked quantities of health-endangering air and water pollution, causing noise and light pollution that disrupts nearby communities, and harming marine habitats," said the environmental group.

"Major commercial ports can produce daily emissions equal to those of half a million cars or more," said Sandia National Laboratories. The project team is hoping that hydrogen fuels cells can address the issue of port pollution, replacing diesel with renewably powered hydrogen.

“Today, we take another big step in transforming our nation to a clean energy economy,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii. “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.”

The project also hopes to address the issue of cost. “The long-range goal is to develop a commercial-ready technology that can be widely used at other ports,” said Pratt. “The project team sees a strong market need and desire for a fuel cell solution, not only at maritime ports but also for users who aren’t connected to a grid. That could extend to developing countries and remote locations worldwide.”

The six-month pilot project is being funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration.

Hawaii is making impressive strides in renewable energy in recent months. In June, Gov. David Ige signed four energy bills, including one that made Hawaii the first state to mandate all of its electricity come from renewable sources no later than 2045. Along with other islands, its charging ahead with wind, solar and smart grid systems. Last week, the state launched the first fully closed-cycle Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion plant in the U.S.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Hawaii Flips Switch on World’s Largest Ocean Harvesting Clean Energy Plant

U.S. Navy Invests in World’s Largest Solar Farm

Third U.S. City Goes 100% Renewable

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

polaristest / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner

Over six gallons of water are required to produce one gallon of wine. "Irrigation, sprays, and frost protection all [used in winemaking] require a lot of water," explained winemaker and sommelier Keith Wallace, who's also a professor and the founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia, the largest independent wine school in the U.S. And water waste is just the start of the climate-ruining inefficiencies commonplace in the wine industry. Sustainably speaking, climate change could be problematic for your favorite glass of wine.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Spinach is a true nutritional powerhouse, as it's rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Jeff Turrentine

From day to day, our public health infrastructure — the people and systems we've put in place to keep populations, as opposed to individuals, healthy — largely goes unnoticed. That's because when it's working well, its success takes the form of utter normalcy.

Read More Show Less
Spring Break vs. COVID19: The Real Impact of Ignoring Social Distancing

By Eoin Higgins

A viral video showing cell phone data collected by location accuracy company X-Mode from spring break partiers potentially spreading the coronavirus around the U.S. has brought up questions of digital privacy even as it shows convincingly the importance of staying home to defeat the disease.

Read More Show Less
Aerial shot top view Garbage trucks unload garbage to a recycle in the vicinity of the city of Bangkok, Thailand. bugto / Moment / Getty Images

German researchers have identified a strain of bacterium that not only breaks down toxic plastic, but also uses it as food to fuel the process, according to The Guardian.

Read More Show Less