The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) announced that it is providing $500,000 to support a feasibility study for the design, construction, and operation of a high-speed passenger ferry powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology and a hydrogen refueling station. The fuel cell would provide power for the ferry’s propulsion and auxiliary electrical systems, while the station, which would be the largest in the world, would service the ferry, as well as other vessels, buses and vehicles powered by fuel cells.
MARAD has partnered on this project, named SF-BREEZE (San Francisco Bay Renewable Energy Electric vessel with Zero Emissions), with Sandia National Laboratories of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) which will lead the research effort. The study will examine the technical, regulatory, and economic aspects of a high-speed hydrogen fuel cell vessel as a clean energy alternative. The partnership also includes San Francisco-based company Red and White Fleet.
“This study is just one more way in which MARAD is working to find new and efficient technologies for use in the maritime industry that offer clean-fuel options to cut emissions,” said Maritime Administrator Paul ‘Chip’ Jaenichen. “The U.S. maritime industry can play an important role in reducing the world’s carbon dioxide emissions and creating a more sustainable future for us all.”
The high-speed passenger ferry would use about 1,000 kilograms of hydrogen per day. To put this in perspective, an average hydrogen fuel cell car might use less than 5 kilograms of hydrogen per week. To support the ferry and other potential users, the refueling station would have a capacity of 1,500 kilograms a day, about twice the size of the largest station in the world. It would also be the first hydrogen refueling station to simultaneously serve land and marine uses.