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Green Hydrogen

Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, is emerging as a promising source of energy for transportation in the maritime industry. Its key advantage lies in its flexibility – as a zero-emission fuel, a means of storing energy, and as a key input into a range of alternative fuels - making it a crucial player in the future of sustainable marine fuels.  

Clean hydrogen promises significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in hard-to-decarbonize sectors like maritime transport and trucking. Hydrogen can power vehicles like trucks, buses, and cargo handling equipment (CHE). It is an important feedstock to future marine fuels like green methanol and ammonia to power ocean-going vessels like cruise and cargo ships, and it can directly power passenger ferries and other vessels.  

The Port of Seattle recognizes green hydrogen's transformative potential. We're actively exploring the feasibility of utilizing green hydrogen, produced from renewable sources, to power port operations and potentially fuel vessels. 

Understanding the Colors of Hydrogen  

Hydrogen production comes in various forms, each with its own environmental impact: 

  • Green Hydrogen: Produced using electrolysis, a process using renewable electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, creating a truly clean fuel source. The Port is particularly interested in exploring the feasibility of green hydrogen production for our port operations. 
  • Blue Hydrogen: Produced from natural gas with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. 
  • Gray Hydrogen: Produced from natural gas without CCS, resulting in greenhouse gas emissions. 

Green Hydrogen in the PNW 

  • PNW Hydrogen Hub: The Port of Seattle has been an active participant in the PNW Hydrogen Hub ("PNWH2 Hub"), a regional initiative to develop a clean hydrogen ecosystem. In 2023, the Pacific Northwest was selected by the US Department of Energy as one of seven regional finalists. The coalition includes the states of Washington, Oregon and Montana, and representatives from Tribal Nations, labor, business and industry, higher education, government, and the environmental community spanning the region. A regional hydrogen hub can be transformative. It can create the infrastructure needed to support the use of zero-emission hydrogen-powered equipment in the Seattle harbor as well as future marine fuels and industrial uses, paving the way for a cleaner and more sustainable future for our waterways and our planet. 
  • PNNL Hydrogen Nodes Study: In collaboration with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Seattle City Light is exploring the feasibility of modular hydrogen stations to support fueling and electrical grid support in the Pacific Northwest. 
  • PNNL Hydrogen Storage Study: This research project is currently underway to investigate the technical and economic feasibility of large-scale hydrogen storage in urban industrial environments, crucial for wider hydrogen adoption. The Port does not currently have plans to build hydrogen storage facilities.  
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