Urgent challenges to overcome on hydrogen use

Industry Database

With more ports considering hydrogen fuelling options for shoreside equipment, there is a pressing need to overcome the challenge of inexperience, according to Hydrogen Europe.

Alexandru Floristean, legal and project manager at Hydrogen Europe, the European industry association working to promote hydrogen energy as a clean technology in the energy and transport sectors, told Port Strategy that while hydrogen has been handled on an industrial level for decades, using it as a fuel means “moving it away from its typical setting”.

In a port environment, this could mean putting it right next to another fuel, such as diesel, or close to urban areas — both scenarios requiring involved risk management.

First mover ports will also need to get their heads around disjointed and non-industry specific rules and regulations on the use, storage and handling of hydrogen, likely in compressed form.

“The reality is that the first in the field will have to put in a lot of effort on mitigation measures,” says Mr Floristean. “But they should not just think in terms of 'this project' alone but realise they're building the regulatory foundations for the next one.”

Valenciaport is exploring hydrogen opportunities, “especially for cargo handling equipment”, according to energy and safety director José Giménez. The port is currently developing pilots for both reachstacker and ro-ro yard tractor operations. Mr Giménez echoed Mr Floristean’s comments on the lack of experience in the use of hydrogen in ports, meaning that ports must seriously consider how their hydrogen plans “interact with current regulation or safety procedures”.

Read more in the January/February 2019 copy of Port Strategy — click here to secure your exclusive copy.

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