Maritime vessels powered by electricity from batteries alone are already operating on waterways where short distances allow for regular recharging. However, these are not suitable for larger ships covering greater distances. Only PEM fuel cells can meet the payload, range and rapid refuelling required by these vessels. Fuel cells turn the chemical energy from hydrogen into electricity through an electrochemical reaction; a fuel cell can have a battery as a system component to store the electricity it is generating.
The well to wake concept brings wider benefits, too, creating as it does a hydrogen value chain that can be leveraged by other users and, landside, port operators are also embracing the hydrogen economy. For example, Forth Ports has reached an initial agreement to begin detailed feasibility studies for a proposed natural gas power station and hydrogen generation plant at Grangemouth, which could ultimately lead to the distribution of liquid hydrogen and other fuels around Scotland and the rest of the UK. Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are also being adopted at port locations, as demonstrated by the H2Ports project at the Port of Valencia, which is focused on showing how hydrogen FCEVs can be used to decarbonise port logistics.