The Anonymous Widower

The First North American Commercial Hydrogen Ferry Is In The Works

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Hydrogen Fuel News.

The 84-passenger ferry will be called Sea Change and will operate in the San Francisco Bay Area.

What is interesting about this project are some of the companies and organisations involved, who include BAe Systems, Cummins and the California Air Resources Board, who are chipping in with a $3 million grant.

I’ve said before that Cummins are making investments in hydrogen and modern, reliable and eco-friendly ferries across iconic rivers and estuaries wouldn’t harm the companies involved in their creation.

This page on the Switch Maritime gives more details of the Sea Change.

Ferries Across The Mersey

The current Mersey Ferries in Liverpool entered service in the 1960s.

These pictures shows Snowdrop, when she had been given a razzle-dazzle paint scheme by Sir Peter Blake.

Note.

  1. There is more about this colour scheme in the Wikipedia entry for Dazzle Ship (14-18 NOW).
  2. Snowdrop is much larger than the Californian ferry
  3. Mersey Ferries are different and the current pair will need to be replaced soon.

To me, hydrogen is the obvious choice for propulsion for a new ferry.

Freeport East

Freeport East is a new freeport to be built around the ports of Harwich and Felixstowe.

It will also be a hydrogen hub, as this infographic shows.

I would expect that the ferry between the two ports will be upgraded to a hydrogen one.

Conclusion

Ferries will be one of the first application of hydrogen power to ships.

 

June 5, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Green Hydrogen Searches For Industrial Outlets

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on E & T Magazine.

It is a detailed look at the uses for green hydrogen.

A few points from the article.

  • Like fossil fuel hydrogen can store energy for months.
  • Less that 10 % of green hydrogen will be used for energy storage.
  • Hydrogen has a poor round trip efficiency, if you create it with an electrolyser and then convert it back to electricity using appropriate technology.
  • Heavy transport may account for 25 % of the use of hydrogen.
  • Industrial and home heating applications could account for the use of another third.
  • One of the biggest uses today of hydrogen is in oil-refining to make low sulphur fuels.
  • Steelmaking could be a big user, but there are many different methods and some have problems.
  • Cement making could be a good use of green hydrogen.

The article is a must-read and it makes you think.

April 20, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport, World | , , , , | 4 Comments

Holyhead Hydrogen Hub Planned For Wales

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on H2 View.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Plans for a new hydrogen production plant, refuelling and distribution hub have been unveiled for Holyhead, North Wales.

Some other points from the article.

  • Unsurprisingly, it will be called the Holyhead Hydrogen Hub.
  • Holyhead is the second largest roll-on, roll-off port in the UK.
  • There is plenty of potential for renewable energy in the area.
  • It will support the port and large scale movements of HGVs.
  • There is plenty of potential for renewable energy in the area.
  • The hydrogen in future could support trains, ships, public transport and other uses.

In the last year, I’ve read about hydrogen hubs in ports, including Portsmouth and Antwerp, so Holyhead is just following a trend.

February 18, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , | 3 Comments

Hydrogen Ambitions For The Port Of Hamburg

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Seatrade Maritime News.

This is the introductory paragraph.

In January Hamburg announced that Vattenfall, Shell, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and municipal heat supplier Warme Hamburg had signed a Letter of Intent to develop a 100MW electrolyser to produce green hydrogen in the port area.

A few points from the article.

  • Hamburg believes that ships will be running on green hydrogen.
  • Buses and trucks will need the hydrogen.
  • They may build a terminal to import green hydrogen, as the Japanese are doing at Kobe.
  • The green hydrogen might be produced in places like Africa and Morocco.

100 MW strikes me as a large electrolyser.

February 4, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , | Leave a comment

Scotland To Trial World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Ferry In Orkney

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on The Herald.

This is the introductory paragraph.

The world’s first hydrogen-fuelled ferry is set to undergo testing as Scotland powers forward in the green energy race.

I wonder how many of these there are in the world?

This paragraph lists those behind the project.

The HyDIME project is made up of a consortium of partners being led by Ferguson Marine. Partners include ULEMCo, Lloyd’s Register, HSSMI and Orkney Islands Council.

I suspect ULEMCo will provide the motive power, as their speciality is converting vehicles to run on hydrogen or dual-fuel of hydrogen and diesel.

There is also a HyDIME web site.

This is the project description from the web site.

  • HyDIME (Hydrogen Diesel Injection in a Marine Environment) is a 12 month, Innovate UK funded project that will use an environmentally friendly form of hydrogen as a fuel for a commercial ferry operating between Shapinsay and Kirkwall in Orkney.
  • HyDIME aims to make waves in the marine industry by proving the safe integration and use of hydrogen on vessels. One of HyDIME’s goals is the design and physical integration of a hydrogen injection system on a commercial passenger and vehicle ferry which will be the first of its kind worldwide.
  • The hydrogen used in the HyDIME project will be cleanly produced from renewable energy. Excess energy generated from Orkney’s abundance of wind and tidal power will be used to produce hydrogen via electrolysis, resulting in carbon free, ’green’ hydrogen.
  • Looking to the future beyond the project, HyDIME will conduct a scale-up analysis, addressing key questions such as, “How much hydrogen and renewable energy would be required to fuel the Shapinsay ferry PLUS a fleet of hydrogen vehicles in Orkney?” and “Can this project be replicated in other areas of Scotland and the rest of the UK?”.
  • The HyDIME project will provide a stepping stone to accelerate and de-risk future hydrogen marine projects and will contribute towards growing the hydrogen economy in the UK.

This looks to be a very professional project, as they seem to be trying to answer all the questions, anyone will ask.

 

October 13, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , | 2 Comments

The Mathematics Of A Hydrogen-Powered Freight Locomotive

If we are going to decarbonise the railways in the UK and in many countries of the world, there is a need to replace diesel locomotives with a zero-carbon alternative.

In looking at Airbus’s proposal for hydrogen powered aircraft in ZEROe – Towards The World’s First Zero-Emission Commercial Aircraft, it opened my eyes to the possibilities of powering freight locomotives using gas-turbine engines running on liquid hydrogen.

A Hydrogen-Powered Equivalent Of A Class 68 Locomotive

The Class 68 Locomotive is a modern diesel locomotive used on UK railways.

This is a brief specification

  • It can pull both passenger and freight trains.
  • It has an operating speed of 100 mph.
  • The diesel engine is rated at 2.8 MW
  • It has an electric transmission.
  • It has a 5,000 litre diesel tank.
  • It weighs 85 tonnes.
  • It is 20.5 metres long.

There are thirty-four of these locomotives in service, where some haul passenger trains for Chiltern Railways and TransPennine Express.

Rolls-Royce’s Staggering Development

Staggering is not my word, but that of Paul Stein, who is Rolls-Royce’s Chief Technology Officer.

He used the word in a press release, which I discuss in Our Sustainability Journey.

To electrify aviation, Rolls-Royce has developed a 2.5 MW generator, based on a small gas-turbine engine, which Paul Stein describes like this.

Amongst the many great achievements from E-Fan X has been the generator – about the same size as a beer keg – but producing a staggering 2.5 MW. That’s enough power to supply 2,500 homes and fully represents the pioneering spirit on this project.

This generator is designed for flight and the data sheet for the gas-turbine engine is available on the Internet.

  • It has a weight of under a couple of tonnes compared to the thirteen tonnes of the diesel engine and generator in a Class 68 locomotive.
  • It is almost as powerful as the diesel.
  • It looks to be as frugal, if not more so!
  • Rolls-Royce haven’t said if this gas-turbine can run on aviation biofuel, but as many of Rolls-Royce’s large engines can, I would be very surprised if it couldn’t!

Rolls-Royce’s German subsidiary; MTU is a large producer of rail and maritime diesel engines, so the company has the expertise to customise the generator for rail applications.

Could this generator be modified to run on liquid hydrogen and used to power a Class 68-sized locomotive?

  • The size of the generator must be an advantage.
  • Most gas-turbine engines can be modified to run on natural gas and hydrogen.
  • Its power output is electricity.
  • There’s probably space to fit two engines in a Class 68 locomotive.

In addition, a battery could be added to the transmission to enable regenerative braking to battery, which would increase the efficiency of the locomotive.

Storing Enough Hydrogen

I believe that the hydrogen-powered locomotive should carry as much energy as a Class 68 locomotive.

  • A Class 68 locomotive has a capacity of 5,000 litres of diesel fuel.
  • This will have a mass of 4.19 tonnes.
  • Each kilogram of diesel can produce 47 Mega Joules of energy.
  • This means that full fuel tanks contain 196,695 Mega Joules of energy.
  • Each litre of liquid hydrogen can produce 10.273 Mega Joules of energy

This means that to carry the same amount of energy will need 19,147 litres or 19.15 cubic metres of liquid hydrogen.

  • This could be contained in a cylindrical tank with a diameter of 2 metres and a length of 6 metres.
  • It would also weigh 1.38 tonnes.

The E-Fan-X aircraft project must have worked out how to store, similar amounts of liquid hydrogen.

Note that I used this Energy And Fuel Data Sheet from Birmingham University.

Running On Electrification

As the locomotive would have an electric transmission, there is no reason, why it could not run using both 25 KVAC overhead and 750 VDC third-rail electrification.

This would enable the locomotive to haul trains efficiently on partially electrified routes like between Felixstowe and Leeds.

Hydrogen-Powered Reciprocating Engines

When it comes to diesel engines to power railway locomotives and big trucks, there are few companies bigger than Cummins, which in 2018, turned over nearly 24 billion dollars.

  • A large proportion of this revenue could be at risk, if governments around the world, get serious about decarbonisation.
  • Cummins have not let the worst just happen and in 2019, they acquired Hydrogenics, who are a hydrogen power company, that they now own in an 81/19 partnership with Air Liquide.
  • Could all this expertise and Cummins research combine to produce powerful hydrogen-powered reciprocating engines?
  • Other companies, like ABC and ULEMCo are going this route, to modify existing diesel engines to run on hydrogen or a mixture of hydrogen and diesel.

I believe it is very likely, that Cummins or another company comes up with a solution to decarbonise rail locomotives, based on a conversion of an existing diesel engine.

Refuelling Hydrogen-Powered Rail Locomotives

One of problems with hydrogen-powered trucks and cars, is that there is no nationwide refuelling network providing hydrogen. But railway locomotives and trains usually return to depots at the end of the day for servicing and can be fuelled there.

Conclusion

I feel that there are several routes to a hydrogen-powered railway locomotive and all the components could be fitted into the body of a diesel locomotive the size of a Class 68 locomotive.

Consider.

  • Decarbonising railway locomotives and ships could be a large market.
  • It offers the opportunities of substantial carbon reductions.
  • The small size of the Rolls-Royce 2.5 MW generator must offer advantages.
  • Some current diesel-electric locomotives might be convertible to hydrogen power.

I very much feel that companies like Rolls-Royce and Cummins (and Caterpillar!), will move in and attempt to claim this lucrative worldwide market.

September 25, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Transition Your Ships To Zero-Emissions With Ballard’s New FCwave

The title of this post, is the same as that of this post on the Ballard blog.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Today, the maritime sector accounts for approximately 2.5% of global carbon emissions, equivalent to 940 megatonnes each year . But the industry is now moving into a new era of mobility, where sustainability and climate change issues are top of mind.

And this paragraph introduces Ballard’s solution.

At Ballard, we’re here to support ship operators and marine propulsion integrators in this transition. Today, we’ll introduce you to our new FCwave™ fuel cell module—the world’s first commercial fuel cell solution for marine vessels.

There is a link to a brochure.

The blog also has two videos and a picture of a Caledonian MacBrayne ferry, which is labelled Ballard Fuel Cell Powered HySeas Consortium Ferry, so is a hydrogen-powered ferry coming to an island near you or where you like to go?

This article on the Liverpool Echo is entitled Plans For A New Ferry To Cross The Mersey.

As the current two ferries, were in service when I was a student at Liverpool University in the 1960s, replacement of one of the most iconic, if not the most iconic ferries in the world with hydrogen power would be a smart move, by both Liverpool and Ballard.

Especially, as the Liverpool area is not short of hydrogen.

September 15, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment