Green Hydrogen from sea water & renewable energy for the maritime and renewable energy industries



  • Who would be the main buyers for hydrogen created this way? Is it a very liquid market at lower volume?



  • @cjbenedikt What is the amount of funding you're seeking for the pilot project?



  • @olliej There are two scenarios. Typical buyers would be in port users such as forklifters or some trucks that run on hydrogen but more importantly cruise ships that are no longer allowed to run their auxiliary engines in port (due to pollution) and have to connect to the onshore grid at huge expense. They could run their aux engines on hydrogen emission free with the added benefit that the hydrogen combusted produces clean water which while in port they currently have to buy.
    Another user of the hydrogen are offshore wind farms (of which there are 96 in Northern Europe alone) to store surplus energy.



  • @feangel we would be looking for between $500k to $750k



  • @thomasn That's one of the reasons I'm on this forum here. I think it's great to have a place to communicate results and data.



  • @cjbenedikt Cool, let me know when you have more info to share! Also, if you need website help, I might be able to help. I run a small agency called Syllable.

    Also, related: I just got back from Princeton's Andlinger Center conference where Hydrogen was a big topic of conversation. I learned a lot and summarized some of it in these tweets. I didn't realize that Hydrogen had such huge potential to decarbonize so many industries!



  • @Eric-Chaves Spot on Eric. Great tweets too. Yes, hydrogen has enormous potential in many ways. Also, one mustn't forget it is the only energy storage medium that produces clean water when used. Another big issue going forward and in some regions already. One of the points made when talking to the National Energy Research Agency (NERA) in Australia was that they don't want to export hydrogen made form electrolysis to Japan as they "would be exporting water" which they are short of already. So, obviously with sea water or Brine they wouldn't have that problem. Let me have a look at your website - I might come back taking you up on your offer.



  • @Eric-Chaves Love the tweet storm, its also a revelation for me to relearn about hydrogen's potential in 2019 - I had mostly written it off years ago. Obviously that is no longer the case!



  • @ericvanular Definitely worth it 🙂



  • @feangel I'm curious if you can tell us about sustainability efforts in the maritime industry? Seems like there's a lot of opportunity for improvement there although I'd love to hear from an industry insider like yourself. I recently saw this article which details the climate impacts of ship speeds.

    Sorry if it is derailing this conversation - maybe you'd consider making your own thread for it? I think there's interest given the potential impact



  • @jparadis I don't think you're derailing the conversation. Indeed, a lot is going on in the industry. Maersk has started to fit some of its vessels with Flettner Rotors https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/31/maersk-tankers-installs-two-huge-rotor-sails-on-one-of-its-vessels.html. They are also spearheading a "getting to zero" coalition to have the first emission free deep sea vessel en route by 2030 and to have an emission free fleet by 2050 https://www.globalmaritimeforum.org/getting-to-zero-coalition. CMB in Belgium has started a JV with an engine manufacturer to build dual fuel engines that can run on either diesel or hydrogen as h2 isn't yet everywhere available https://splash247.com/cmb-nails-its-future-to-hydrogen/ and only recently a group of ship operator/owners suggested to raise a carbon tax on shipping to feed a green technology fund to invest in green shipping technology https://www.tradewindsnews.com/finance/sohmen-pao-champions-70bn-carbon-tax-plan-to-drive-fuel-switch/2-1-698376.
    There is also a lot of movement in the port related business sector.
    Vopak, a major terminal operator in 60 ports globally only just invested into a startup with new hydrogen storage technology https://www.bunkerspot.com/global/48676-global-vopak-leads-17-million-funding-round-for-hydrogen-logistics-company
    So, after decades (if not centuries) of doing nothing the industry has come under pressure to clean up its act and is responding proactively.
    Slow shipping isn't exactly new and was used several years ago. But since the sector is growing massively that won't really cut its overall emission enough. Growth will more than offset any savings achieved.



  • @jparadis Hopefully this isn’t an overly simplistic or offtopic answer to your question. For a number of reasons, the maritime industry is risk averse and notoriously slow to innovate. Nevertheless, ships have gradually become cleaner and more efficient over the last few decades, mostly driven by regulatory requirements. The rapid growth in ship size and increases in propulsion efficiency have enabled ships to achieve significant reductions in energy consumption per unit cargo carried. However ships typically burn residual fuel, a very dirty fuel that is essentially a refinery waste product and therefore much less expensive than cleaner fuels. All that is changing right now as one of the biggest environmental changes to shipping takes effect on Jan 1, 2020 when new fuel restrictions go into effect that either require a vessel to burn much cleaner low Sulphur diesel or to install expensive scrubbers. The much higher cost of clean diesel has changed the economics so that alternative fuels like LNG and biodiesel are competitive and in some cases less expensive.
    In California and some other locations outside the US, “coldironing” (the ship plugs in to the electrical grid and secures its own diesel generators) has been phased in to reduce emissions in port. Other changes have taken effect over the last decade to reduce NOx and SOx, invasive species, toxic hull coatings, and sewage discharges. Ships are gradually getting greener but have a long way to go. Large companies like Maersk(Danish) and CMA CGM (French) will likely be the drivers for innovation and adoption, as most of the fleets (Greek, Chinese, etc.) will do the minimum to comply with regulatory requirements as they would not be competitive otherwise. The US is a minor player in the industry and doesn’t have a large impact on innovating vessel technologies, but the US does have a significant role in dictating regulatory requirements for foreign flag vessels calling US ports.
    As for slow steaming, I believe the statistics being quoted are somewhat misleading. Without doing aa deep dive on this, this concept primarily applies to long haul container ships (vs. tankers, bulkers, etc.) Major container operators run their ships on “liner” service which means that they might offer a weekly service to a port (every Tuesday at 0800 one of their ships will call Los Angeles for example). When ships slow steam, they either have to reduce the number of ports they serve or they have to add a vessel to the rotation. So if previously they had five ships on a five week run operating a weekly service, they would change this to a six week service and add a sixth vessel to the string. They still have to move the same number of containers each week (or they’d start piling up) so while for a given vessel it can be more efficient to slow down, it may not reduce overall emissions. Slow steaming originated during the financial crisis when many vessels were being laid up. Slow steaming was a solution that took advantage of idle vessels to save fuel costs. Since then the equation has changed, and most ships built in the last five to ten years have been optimized for slower cruising speeds rather than the fastest attainable speed that was historically the norm. Reducing speed even further on these vessels by slow steaming would not achieve the savings that it once did. Please note that I haven’t analyzed any specific data to back my opinions up, just offering this from my experience.



  • @cjbenedikt Thanks for the quick rundown on the state of affairs! For the "Getting to Zero" coalition, how is decarbonization being achieved? Is it mostly through zero emission fuels?



  • @ericvanular Yes, that is clearly the key to it - given the growth of the sector going forward. Vaclav Smil, one of Bill Gates' favourite authors wrote a good piece about Batteries on ships https://spectrum.ieee.org/transportation/marine/electric-container-ships-are-stuck-on-the-horizon which explains quite well why they won't be an alternative any time soon. Same for fuel cells. Ocean going container ships have engines with between 40MW - to 90MW power. It'll take a while until fuel cells can deliver that. So, clean fuels such as hydrogen and combustion engines will continue to play an important role.



  • Is nuclear propulsion for ships a viable option?



  • @zanzibar Yes and no. Probably not for commercial vessels. The discussions with ship operators around hydrogen centered on combustion engines not only because of the necessary power but also because fuel cells are way more complex. The overarching reaction was: our crews can repair a combustion engine but they won't be able to repair a fuel cell. And if power fails mid journey there is no road assistance available. In short: what goes on a ship has to be robust. Don't think crews could handle a nuclear reactor.



  • @cjbenedikt What kind of timeline do you project it would take to get green hydrogen production infrastructure established in new ports?



  • @Cali-Johnston We will launch our pilot next year in Rotterdam. If it works according to plan we want to launch the next one in Sohar followed by Gladstone. If we find the right partner and the necessary funding we would like to establish ourselves in sixty ports within 5 years. That's ambitious but can be done.



  • @cjbenedikt I've been working on issues of climate change as well. My Liverpool Fulbright was on Labor and Climate Change. Met interesting people working on the production of green hydrogen like the turf and surf project in Orkney, and a number of places in Norway, such as Floro. From the point of view of sustainability, it is important that energy production and distribution be socially owned.



  • @vprice The social benefits gained from sustainability projects are underrated. Try to get those individuals engaging here and we can provide support to their projects!


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