Energy storage in port operations

Joe Pratt studies hydrogen fuel cell energy storage in ports at the Port of Oakland, California. Photo credit: Sandia National Laboratories

Joe Pratt studies hydrogen fuel cell energy storage in ports at the Port of Oakland, California. Photo credit: Sandia National Laboratories

A hidden challenge for renewable energy, in terms of carbon reductions at least, is making sure your cure is not more damaging than your disease. Many types of renewable power plants, for example, contain large amounts of concrete and cement, the production of which involves significant greenhouse gas emissions.

The emissions involved in construction, from concrete or other sources, seem rarely to be included in calculations of the environmental benefit arising from renewable energy. Yet it is not inconceivable that a wasteful enough construction process might produce more carbon emissions than a project could save over its operating lifespan.
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Sea ports to benefit from fuel cells

Sandia Labs has identified another promising market for fuel cells: the dockside. Fuel cells, says the organisation, have already proven themselves in powering mobile lighting systems, forklifts, emergency backup systems and light-duty trucks.

And now researchers have found hydrogen fuel cells may be technically feasible and commercially attractive as a clean, quiet and efficient power source for docked ships, replacing the crafts’ on-board diesel generators. Why might this be important?
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