- Hydrogen Storage on Ship
A couple of weeks ago, I talked about how ships contribute more pollutants to the atmosphere worldwide than do cars. These barges and container ships on the high seas burn a cheap, sludgy form of diesel fuel called “bunker oil”.
At that time I suggested an immediate solution was for these ships to switch to burning clean diesel fuel and eventually switch over the hydrogen. Some smaller ships, vessels and boats have done just that.
Take for instance the University of Birmingham fuel cell ferryboat called the Ross Barlow which runs on solar panels, hydrogen fuel cells and battery packs. One of the most interesting parts of the Ross Barlow is its hydrogen storage system, using metal hydrides, which is said to be able to last 100 years. This is longer than the life expectance of the ferryboat.
According to EMPA, “This device can store hydrogen with an energy content of 50 kWh, which is equivalent to 20 pressurized gas cylinders each of 10 Liter capacity. The storage material consists of an alloy of titanium, zirconium, manganese, vanadium and iron in powder form which is packed into sealed steel tubes. The powder absorbs hydrogen, thus acting as a storage medium, only releasing it when heated.
“Since when ‘filling up’ with hydrogen the metal powder generates heat which must be removed, each storage module is located in a water tank which can be warmed or cooled as necessary, In addition the ship is fitted with a solar panel which can supply up to 320 W of electric power.”
So, you see the battle hasn’t been lost in regard to cleaning up the shipping industry. The battle is just beginning. And getting started is one of the most important aspects for hydrogen propulsion technology in regard to planes, trains and automobiles (and this includes ships, too). Can I get an Ahoy on that one? Thank you.