AUG 01, 2015 3:03 PM PDT

San Fran's Red And White Fleet Wants To Go Hydrogen-Powered Green, Part I

WRITTEN BY: Andrew J. Dunlop
A San Francisco-based sightseeing cruise line called The Red and White Fleet has taken on a new project. Certainly, if it's successful it will improve things for the company, but it could have much wider implications for the shipping industry in general. They want to develop, build, and deploy a fleet of ferries that run on hydrogen fuel cells instead of diesel engines. You may think that's not that big of a deal, you know, ships, but here's something you may not know: ships create about a third of all emissions world-wide. So this could be a very big deal.

One of today's Red and White Fleet ferries

The project is called SF-BREEZE (San Francisco Bay Renewable Energy Electric vessel with Zero Emissions). The aim is to design, build and operate a high-speed hydrogen fuel cell passenger ferry. If the pessimist in you is asking: ‘Yeah, but where are they going to get the hydrogen?' well, they've thought of that. The other half of the project is the creation of the largest hydrogen refueling station in the world.



Just a refresher here on the precise benefits of hydrogen fuel cells over the diesel engines that power most passenger ferries: Hydrogen fuel cells create no emissions. They are way more efficient, much quieter to operate, and pose no risk of fuel spills. If hydrogen fuel cell could start replacing diesel engines and generators both air and water quality could greatly improve in harbor areas.

"Everyone is talking about reducing emissions by 20 percent, 40 percent or more," says Tom Escher the Red and White Fleet's president. "I thought, 'Why not do away with emissions altogether?'" Well, apparently his idea was good enough to get a few other entities involved, and this is not just the local pretzel stand. How about Sandia National Laboratories for starters? Sandia recently signed a cooperative research and development agreement with Red and White Fleet.

But Sandia's not the only co-stake holder in this project, not by a long shot. Others who have signed on include the American Bureau of Shipping, the U.S. Coast Guard and naval architect Elliott Bay Design Group, as well as the California Environmental Protection Agency's Air Resources Board and the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development.

"We are involving so many stakeholders up front because if the feasibility study shows a 'go' we want to make sure the next phase has a rock-solid foundation," says Joe Pratt, a mechanical engineer, and the Sandia project lead. "We hope that the feasibility study, regardless of the outcome, can be useful to others nationally and around the world who are looking at hydrogen fuel cell vessels as clean energy alternatives."
About the Author
Andrew J. Dunlop lives and writes in a little town near Boston. He's interested in space, the Earth, and the way that humans and other species live on it.
You May Also Like
OCT 08, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Grad Student Highlights: David Handy (Florida Institute of Technology)
OCT 08, 2022
Grad Student Highlights: David Handy (Florida Institute of Technology)
David Handy is a PhD student in Biological Sciences at the Florida Institute of Technology (Florida Tech) studying how b ...
OCT 11, 2022
Earth & The Environment
Potential For 24/7 Solar Power from Solar Harvesting
OCT 11, 2022
Potential For 24/7 Solar Power from Solar Harvesting
In a recent study published in Physical Review Applied, a team of researchers from the University of Houston reports on ...
OCT 22, 2022
Plants & Animals
Could Wolves Be Man's New Best Friend?
OCT 22, 2022
Could Wolves Be Man's New Best Friend?
Our connection to canines goes back at least 15,000 years. A dog's affection for its human companion is a part of wh ...
NOV 05, 2022
Technology
Researchers Develop Edible QR Codes
NOV 05, 2022
Researchers Develop Edible QR Codes
In a recent study that will be presented at The 35th Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, a t ...
NOV 08, 2022
Earth & The Environment
Seasonal Thawing in Antarctica Playing Tricks with Scientists
NOV 08, 2022
Seasonal Thawing in Antarctica Playing Tricks with Scientists
In a recent study published in Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, a trio of researchers led by Colgate University e ...
NOV 22, 2022
Technology
Researchers Develop Material with Memory Using Magnets
NOV 22, 2022
Researchers Develop Material with Memory Using Magnets
In a recent study published in Sciences Advances, a team of researchers from Aalto University in Finland have developed ...
Loading Comments...