Boats & Barges

Port Of South Louisiana Inks Contract For Hydrogen Fueling Barge Design

The board of commissioners of the Port of South Louisiana (PortSL) has approved a contract with Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG) for the design of a hydrogen fueling barge. The one-year contract is valued at $590,000, with design work to take place in three phases.

The hydrogen barge project is part of $50 million in grants by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to H2theFuture, a regional public-private partnership led by the Greater New Orleans Development Foundation (GNO Inc.) that aims to grow a clean energy sector in the region.

The $50 million in grants is part of the Biden administration’s $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge.

According to the announcement of the grant from the Commerce Department last year, H2theFuture plans to “transition the regional hydrogen energy sector away from fossil fuel-reliant forms of hydrogen and towards green hydrogen produced from renewable energy sources.” The coalition’s plan includes a central campus for the system, efforts to improve competitiveness of renewable hydrogen, “a development center for hydrogen-fueled ship,” and the hydrogen fueling barge.

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The forthcoming hydrogen fueling barge will be the first of its kind in the nation and the second in the world, said Micah Cormier, director of communications for the Port of South Louisiana, and will spur adoption of hydrogen as a power source for vessels operating in the area.

“The barge will be a fueling station for a new fleet of hydrogen-powered vessels,” Cormier said. “The investment will trigger private investment in more than 16 hydrogen-powered tugboats by a private partner. We believe that the success will lead to additional investments in hydrogen-powered vessels.”

H2theFuture has identified five “workstreams” to promote adoption of hydrogen as a fuel source. Hydrogen testbeds will include universities across the region that will research low-carbon hydrogen technologies. A hydrogen “NeXus” will foster collaboration and coordination among stakeholders. Two streams will focus on business development and workforce development, while the final stream will deal with public-private partnerships to “de-risk low-carbon hydrogen investments at commercial scale. The hydrogen fueling barge at the Port of South Louisiana falls under the public-private partnership stream.

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