US ports plan $50bn in green infrastructure

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has revealed that US ports are expected to spend nearly $50 billion on green infrastructure over the next ten years, with hydrogen playing a major role in their plans. The survey covered AAPA’s membership and showed that ports are most interested in electric cargo handling equipment, shore power for vessels at berth, electric grid infrastructure, and hydrogen energy infrastructure. The survey also found that 58% of respondents had begun studying projects to serve vessels with alternative fuels, including hydrogen, LNG, and ammonia.

However, the AAPA survey also showed that 83% of port authorities were having difficulties sourcing equipment and materials for green infrastructure from US manufacturers. In order for these projects to take place, the ports need funding. The Inflation Reduction Act has earmarked funding for ports by introducing Grants to Reduce Air Pollution at Ports worth $3 billion, which will support the purchase and installation of zero-emission equipment and technology at ports.

On the hydrogen front, the Port of Corpus Christi is working on several projects to become a green hydrogen hub. The port’s Horizons Clean Hydrogen Hub (HCH2) has joined hands with Trans Permian’s H2Hub in submitting a single application through the US DOE Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs Programme. The planned projects within the H2Hub include production and hydrogen derivatives from diverse feedstocks as well as mobility projects, including hydrogen fuel cell bus manufacturing, hydrogen refuelling stations, municipal transit projects, and freight mobility projects.

Hydrogen fuel cells have multiple benefits for electrifying many of the port vehicles and equipment that are currently powered by diesel, such as overhead cranes, gantries, container handlers, terminal tractors, drayage trucks, and more. Ports present myriad use cases for fuel cell power and are also ideal locations for establishing hydrogen infrastructure to support the machinery used on-site, as well as for providing hydrogen to marine vessels and to drayage trucks and other vehicles that constantly enter and leave the port. Ports can also take advantage of their strategic positions to become hydrogen import/export hubs, an opportunity being explored by multiple port authorities.

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