The U.S. ports are expected to build out nearly $50 billion in green infrastructure over the next decade – and hydrogen is set to play a significant role in the industry’s plans, a recent survey from the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) shows.
The survey covered AAPA’s membership and showed that ports are most interested in electric cargo handling equipment, shore power for vessels at berth, electric grid infrastructure, and hydrogen energy infrastructure.
AAPA is the voice of more than 130 public port authorities in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, and Latin America.
Some of the key findings of the survey show that 58% of the respondents have begun studying projects to serve vessels with alternative fuels, including hydrogen, LNG, and ammonia.
Furthermore, 63% of ports have completed projects top electrify terminal equipment and fleet vehicles. Electrification of land-side equipment represents the most common type of electrification projects at ports.
That being said, 83% of port authorities said that they were having difficulties sourcing equipment and materials for green infrastructure from U.S. manufacturers.
What is more, in order for these projects to take place the ports need funding.
The Inflation Reduction Act has earmarked funding for ports by introducing Grants to Reduce Air Pollution at Ports, worth $3 billion, which will support the purchase and installation of zero-emission equipment and technology at ports.
The act also includes $1 billion intended for the replacement of heavy-duty vehicles with zero-emission alternatives.
On the hydrogen front, the Port of Corpus Christi has set its sights on becoming a green hydrogen hub and is working on several projects to make this a reality.
Most recently, the port’s Horizons Clean Hydrogen Hub (HCH2) decided to join hands with Trans Permian’s H2Hub in submitting a single application through the US DOE Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs Programme. The port is the prime applicant for the HCH2 and a common denominator to dozens of discrete clean hydrogen production projects in the proposed hub.
The planned projects within the H2Hub include production and hydrogen derivatives from diverse feedstocks as well as mobility projects, including hydrogen fuel cell bus manufacturing, hydrogen refuelling stations, municipal transit projects, and freight mobility projects.
Hydrogen fuel cells have multiple benefits for electrifying many of the port vehicles and equipment that are currently powered by diesel, such as overhead cranes, gantries, container handlers, terminal tractors, drayage trucks, and more, Gus Block of Nuvera Fuel Cells said at the recently held POWERS Summit.
As explained, ports present myriad use cases for fuel cell power and are also ideal locations for establishing hydrogen infrastructure to support the machinery used on-site, as well as for providing hydrogen to marine vessels and to drayage trucks and other vehicles that constantly enter and leave the port.
Ports can also take advantage of their strategic positions to become hydrogen import/export hubs, an opportunity being explored by multiple port authorities.
As off-shore wind projects develop over the coming years, ports become the natural channel for hydrogen produced from electrolysis as a means for storing large amounts of renewable electricity.
Source: Offshore Energy