Comparison of the greenhouse gas and criteria pollutant emissions from the SF-BREEZE high-speed fuel-cell ferry with a diesel ferry

A theoretical comparison is made of the “well to waves” (WTW) greenhouse gas (GHG) and criteria pollutant emissions from the SF-BREEZE high-speed hydrogen PEM fuel cell ferry and the VALLEJO ferry powered by traditional diesel engine technology but constrained to Tier 4 emissions standards. The emissions were calculated for a common maritime mission, the current ferry route between Vallejo CA and San Francisco CA. Calculations are made of the energy required for the SF-BREEZE and VALLEJO to perform the mission route profile. The SF-BREEZE requires 10.1% more fuel energy than the VALLEJO, primarily due to the SF-BREEZE being heavier. Estimates are made for the SF-BREEZE GHG emissions associated with five LH₂ fuel production pathways including renewable and non-renewable (fossil-fuel based) methods. Estimates are also made for GHG emissions associated with fossil-diesel production and delivery as well as those for biodiesel, which can be considered a renewable “drop-in” fuel replacement for conventional diesel fuel. The authors find that the GHG emissions for the SF-BREEZE using non-renewable LH₂ are significantly higher than for the Tier 4 diesel-fueled VALLEJO on a per passenger basis. However, using renewable LH₂, the GHG emissions for the SF-BREEZE ferry are reduced 75.8% compared to the diesel-fueled VALLEJO operating at Tier 4 emissions standards. The authors also compare the criteria pollutant emissions (NOₓ , HC, PM10) for the SF-BREEZE to that of the VALLEJO held to Tier 4 emissions standards fueled by diesel fuel or biodiesel. Hydrogen PEM fuel cell technology dramatically reduces NOₓ and HC emissions below the most advanced Tier 4 criteria pollutant emissions requirements regardless of whether the LH₂ is made by NG reforming or via water electrolysis using 70% renewable energy. Renewable LH2 made with greater than 84% renewable process energy is needed to also drop the SF-BREEZE PM₁₀ emissions below that of Tier 4 for high-speed fuel cell ferry transportation. Overall, the results show that operating a hydrogen fuel cell ferry on nearly 100% renewable hydrogen provides the dramatic reduction in GHG and criteria pollutant emissions commensurate with the problems of global climate change and maritime air pollution worldwide.


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  • Accession Number: 01642965
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 1 2017 10:08AM