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Image courtesy of Siemens Gamesa


Building Hydrogen Ships is Easy, But Getting Hydrogen Is Hard

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If you’re an EV fan and spend much time on social media, you’ve probably come across a hydrogen Stan or two. Like the villain you feel sorry for in the Eminem song Stan, “Stans” are obsessive fans who just can’t do anything but be obsessive fans. The object of their affection can do no wrong, and everyone who doesn’t absolutely love what they love is awful. They engage in all sorts of toxic behavior to defend the thing they love and poop on everything else. Stans come in all flavors, and every famous person or company has at least a few Stans (although some do have more Stans than others).

The hydrogen Stans can be downright confusing. Often, they live on the US west coast (California is the only place with many hydrogen stations) and drive a Toyota Mirai. They’re extremely impressed with their ability to quickly fill the tanks, not unlike a gas-powered car, but they don’t produce direct tailpipe emissions. Most Mirai owners don’t think it’s such a great car after dealing with fuel availability problems (a station actually blew up, leaving many owners stranded). In theory, an H-powered car could make a good road trip vehicle, but you’re basically stuck in California with the things, so you’d mostly be better off with an EV. And that’s before you consider the crazy cost of buying the stuff.

Despite all this, I’ve seen the biggest hydrogen Stans insist that people living outside of California buy one, because that’ll convince them to build more stations. After all, EVs are bad, because [insert debunked anti-EV argument here]. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, and EVs simply can’t scale the way H can.

In other words, some people just can’t have a bad enough experience with hydrogen to stop Stanning it.

The Story Of A Hydrogen Ship

I bring up the hydrostans because I’ve got a story today that really drives the point home about hydrogen. I know it’s not going to convince them of anything, because they think the infrastructure is still coming someday, but for the rest of us, we can have a good laugh, learn something, and have a second good laugh when the Stans show up. recently shared the tale of a ship that could be powered by green hydrogen. The new ship, the REM Energy, is actually pretty cool. It has a 12 MW battery (that’s as much battery storage as 120+ Teslas). It’s not a container ship, but fairly large boats are needed to go out and work on offshore wind turbines. The ship can run on battery power, and can even charge from the turbines it’s working on. For trips that are beyond the reach of the battery pack, it’s also capable of charging the pack using hydrogen fuel cells.

”We are taking the first step in getting ready to cut our emissions in offshore service operations. The commissioning of the REM Energy is a strong signal highlighting the availability of clean technology to facilitate operation without emissions,” said Jonas Pagh Jensen, Sustainability Specialist at Siemens Gamesa.

There’s just one problem: Germany (where the ship operates) doesn’t have any green hydrogen for sale. So Siemens has to charge the battery pack with diesel generators on the vessel.

Before we dunk on it completely, we need to keep in mind that Siemens is working on other hydrogen projects and expects there to be plenty of fuel available during the ship’s serviceable life. Germany also doesn’t have patience for hydrogen greenwashing, and only supports green hydrogen projects. But, at the same time, Siemens (probably) knows better than to buy an H-fueled ship and just hope for the best like the hydrostans.

Featured image courtesy of Siemens Gamesa

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Written By

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.


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