Sandia Labs Wins Tech Transfer Award for Research Making Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vessels a Reality

By May 18, 2020 3   min read  (455 words)

May 18, 2020 |

Photo courtesy Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine’s Water-Go-Road vessel pictured here will use hydrogen fuel cell technology validated at Sandia National Laboratories that eliminates emissions and is better for the environment. This success won a national Excellence in Technology Transfer Award

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Technology that helps men test their fertility is among Sandia National Laboratories’ four national awards winners honored by the Federal Laboratory Consortium for work to develop and commercialize innovative technologies.

“These awards are highly competitive,” said Jackie Kerby Moore, Sandia’s manager of Technology and Economic Development and the labs’ consortium representative. “This year our honorees include three start-up companies that are successfully deploying Sandia technologies, creating jobs and generating far-reaching impacts.”

The consortium is a network of more than 300 federal laboratories, agencies, and research centers. The awards are ranked as some of the most prestigious honors for federal laboratories and industry partners that demonstrate outstanding technology transfer achievements.

One of the awards was for research that enabled a former Sandia scientist to start a company using hydrogen fuel cells to power vessels.

Labs research makes hydrogen fuel cell vessels a reality

Sandia received an Excellence in Technology Transfer Award for evaluating and demonstrating the feasibility of the use of hydrogen fuel cells in maritime applications.

Fuel cells turn hydrogen fuel into electricity using no moving parts while producing no exhaust other than clean water. But until an inquiry from a San Francisco ferry boat operator in 2014, scientists in the U.S., including those at Sandia, had not yet studied how to apply hydrogen fuel cells to ships.

Sandia physical chemist Lennie Klebanoff and former labs scientist Joe Pratt had previously researched how hydrogen fuel cells could be used for vehicles, construction lights, power generators, and power onboard commercial airplanes. When the inquiry came in to apply the technology to ships, the researchers applied their knowledge on hydrogen fuel cells to determine the feasibility of their use on vessels.

After Klebanoff and Pratt developed the way to use hydrogen fuel cell technology for maritime applications, Pratt left the labs through the Entrepreneurial Separation to Transfer Technology program and launched Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine to transfer the technology.

Pratt’s zero-emission, marine company is a full-service provider of hydrogen fuel cell marine power systems that are clean, quiet, and comply with all current and future environmental regulations.

With a technically solid foundation based on the Sandia studies, the company received funding for the construction and deployment of the first hydrogen fuel cell vessel in the western hemisphere and the first commercial fuel cell ferry in the world. This vessel named the Water-Go-Round, is scheduled for christening later this year.

Sandia now has a CRADA with the company to independently measure the performance of the fuel cells on the Water-Go-Round.

Further Reading: All American Marine to Complete Construction of the First Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vessel in the U.S.


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