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Implementing Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Technologies in Ports

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - H2Ports (Implementing Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Technologies in Ports)

Reporting period: 2020-07-01 to 2021-06-30

More than 250 container terminals are currently operating in European countries. More than 100 million TEUs were overall handled in 2017 in European seaports, resulting in the generation of approximately 1.3 million of CO2e emission tonnes per year. This amount of GHG emissions are not included in the EU Emissions Trading System, generating remarkable external costs not properly accounted and managed which impact in European economy and in the citizens’ quality of life. Facilitating the transition of the existing European port terminals towards low carbon and local zero emission operative models is a challenging goal that should be promoted with the aim of achieving Europe’s climate objectives.
H2Ports aims to boost the transition of the European port industry towards an effective low-carbon/zero-emission and safe operative model, piloting, evaluating and demonstrating new FC technologies oriented to increase energy efficiency, decarbonisation and safety of port terminals. The main objective is to deploy port equipment equipped with FC technologies and the use of hydrogen as zero-emission fuel through innovative market sided solutions to be ready for market adoption by the end of the project. H2Ports will take as starting point on-going developments that reference port equipment manufacturers have been developing in the last years. These prototypes implement eco-efficient technologies able to reduce the carbon footprint of European ports, which are responsible of a significant amount of GHG and pollutant emissions generated as a consequence of the use of diesel powered heavy-duty machinery in 24/7 cycles.
The work done from the beginning of the project has been devoted to prepare the conditions for a successful testing of the terminal machinery during two years of real operations. This preparation will involve the following aspects:
- Design and construction of the Reach Stacker to be tested in a container terminal (MSCTV). Even though the design will use some knowledge gained by the leader partner (Hyster-Yale) during the development of a Top-Loader to operate at the port of Los Angeles, the Reach Stacker that will be developed on H2Ports has many peculiarities that has required substantial engineering efforts during this period. Due to the intensive energy use of this equipment, the autonomy and recharging times (and thus, the storage of hydrogen) are key factors for the future deployment of this alternative in the port sector. In addition, it was clear from the beginning of the project that it was of paramount importance to involve the terminal and the port workers from the beginning, as it is the only way of guaranteeing the acceptance and later use of the Reach Stacker during normal operations. In that sense, there has been a constant and fluid communication and coordination between Hyster-Yale and the final user (MSCTV).
- Design of hydrogen fuel Terminal Tractor and start of the retrofit of a Terminal Tractor to be tested in a RoRo terminal (VALTE part of the Grimaldi group). In this case, there is no OEM directly involved in the project (as partner), so many efforts were required at the beginning in order to get an indirect involvement through the subcontracting of the Italian distributor. This involvement will guarantee technical support and will ease future deployment of the technology. Once the involvement was obtained, the design phase could start, that has shown to be extremely challenging. The specific working conditions restrain the available space for placing all the equipment (FC stack, BoP, hydrogen storage, etc. ) to the interior of the chasis., and it is very difficult to find enough space for hydrogen storage in order to fulfil the autonomy requirements. The design of the terminal tractor is almost completed and the end of the second reporting period and the retrofit has already been initiated.
- Design and construction of the Hydrogen Refuelling Station (HRS). As the two pilots will coincide in time and the machinery cannot exit the terminals, the HRS concept includes a fixed part for hydrogen storage at low pressure and a compressor, and a mobile part with the high pressure storage and the dispenser. The design and construction is almost complete and the transportation of the HRS is expected to be carried out at the end of 2021.
- Coordination between the involved stakeholders. Aspects such as regulatory issues, safety analysis or coordination between final users will be key factors for the success of the project. All these aspects will be dealt throughout the whole duration of the action through the setup of informal working groups and the organization of the first meetings and working sessions.
- Management. All the management structure of the project have been established, agreed among all partners with the Project Management Plan and started.
- Communication. The dissemination and communication strategy has been defined through the communication plan. The tools that will be used during the project to support the communication action of the project (i.e. webpage, social networks and newsletters), have been designed, created and active during this period. Finally, there has been a strong presence of the project in both events (conference, workshops, etc) and general media thanks to the proactivity of all partners. Finally, a Stakeholder Advisory Group has been initiated and the first two meeting have taken place.
As a result of the project, two new type of equipment to be used in the port sector (a Reach Stacker and a Terminal Tractor) will be designed, constructed and tested under real working condition during a prolonged period (two years). Therefore, the project will be a pioneering experience in Europe (and one of the first in the world) of the use of hydrogen technologies in the sector, which will probe the use of hydrogen offer advantages compared to other zero emissions technologies. With respect to impacts beyond the end of the project, in the case of the Reach Stacker, the equipment will be incorporated in the catalogue of Hyster Yale. For both pilots, it will provide very valuable information to the final users (MSCTV part of TiL Group and Grimaldi Group) in order to incorporate hydrogen into its environmental medium and long term strategy. Related to the former, it is expected the both equipment will be used on regular operation after the end of the project. The presence of a HRS in the port of Valencia will also facilitate the realization of other piloting experiences in the coming years. The HRS will be slightly oversized, which will allow a third pilot to be tested at the same time. The consortium is actively working on the realisation of this pilot among the many potential applications that exist in a port environment. Finally, the port is currently defining its energy strategy for the coming years in order to achieve its objective of becoming carbon neutral at 2030. The H2Ports project experience will show the potential to the technology to decision makers and will definitely contribute to a greater presence of hydrogen options in this strategy.
H2PORTS Project viewing
HRS Compressor
Reach Stacker
HRS Buffer tank