This is a follow-up to our March 2020 study that examined the potential of using hydrogen fuel cells to power container ships servicing a busy corridor between China and the United States.
According to that analysis, 99% of the voyages made in 2015 could be powered by hydrogen with only minor changes to fuel capacity or operations, by replacing 5% of cargo space with more hydrogen fuel or by adding one additional port of call to refuel. (43% of 2015 voyages could be completed with no changes at all.) This working paper focuses on refueling demand and evaluates what refueling infrastructure would be needed, and at which ports, to enable the same 2015 container ship traffic to use liquid hydrogen (LH2) in combination with fuel cells along the same transpacific corridor.
The authors find that virtually all of the Pacific container ships could be fueled with 730,000 tonnes of LH2 per year, one-third of which could be needed in the San Pedro Bay region. Additionally, some ports are more advantageous for early investment in refueling infrastructure than others. Hydrogen refueling infrastructure at Northeast Asia and Alaska alone could provide fuel for more than 60% of the voyages that would require an additional refueling stop. The results reflect the full extent of opportunities for Pacific Rim ports to support LH2 use along the U.S.–China container shipping corridor between the Pearl River Delta and San Pedro Bay ports.