Interisland shipping company Young Brothers Ltd. has been chosen to host a federally funded demonstration project that will test the effectiveness of hydrogen fuel cells as a replacement for diesel generators in a maritime setting.
Sandia National Laboratories picked Young Brothers to test the hydrogen fuel cell technology after completing a feasibility study last year that looked at more than a half-dozen ports in Hawaii and the on the West Coast.
The mobile 120-kilowatt fuel cell unit designed by Sandia National Laboratories will be mounted inside a 20-foot shipping container, which can be loaded onto a barge or moved anywhere in the harbor where auxiliary power is needed, according Young Brothers’ officials.
The primary use of the fuel cell will be to provide electricity to refrigerated containers that Young Brothers transports interisland by barge, said Joe Pratt, project manager for Sandia National Laboratories. Sandia engineers are in the process of designing the unit, which will be brought to Hawaii in early 2015 and provided to Young Brothers for six months.
In addition to potentially cutting Young Brothers’ fuel costs, the fuel cell would also allow it to to reduce its emissions.
“Environmental stewardship is an important aspect of Young Brothers’ business, so we’re pleased to be part of this clean-energy initiative,” said Roy Catalani, vice president of strategic planning and government affairs at Young Brothers.