While fuel cell technology is generally maturing, to our knowledge, it has not been used in the maritime sector for the provision of power to vessels. This will be the first time that fuel cell power has been used on the Thames and in the Port of London, and potentially in the UK for maritime operational purposes. The energy demand of a vessel needing instant power is seen as one of the challenges of fuel cells in the time is takes to build up the power outputs, so combining the system with battery storage at a minimal level reduces the risk for operators. The energy usage and the systems response will be mapped and monitored throughout the trial to understand the opportunities or challenges faced by use of such as system for this purpose.
Lead partner: Port of London Authority (PLA), harbour fleet operation, with regional ports and port associations.
A fuel cell generator system will be installed at the PLA’s Denton Wharf and used in place of existing diesel generators by both the PLA and tenants, towage operators, Svitzer. Data on energy transfer and fuel usage, alongside training requirements and lessons learnt will be captured for mapping to wider port applications, reflecting how limitations of the location may be overcome and what may be present in others. The energy and fuel use data will flow into Work Packages 4 & 6 for further use. A sub-contractor will support with fuel cell and fuel, as well as air quality monitoring.