‘World’s first’ hydrogen-powered RTG crane starts commercial operations

Japan’s Mitsui E&S and its U.S. subsidiary PACECO have announced the commencement of commercial operations of the “world’s first” hydrogen fuel cell-powered rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) crane, H2-ZE Transtainer crane, at the Port of Los Angeles.

Courtesy of Mitsui E&S

Mitsui E&S developed the H2-ZE Transtainer crane and announced its completion at the Mitsui Oita factory in April 2023.

During development, it was verified that the same operational performance as the conventional diesel-powered Transtainer cranes can be achieved, Mitsui claimed, adding that for this project, a newly built H2-ZE Transtainer was delivered to Yusen Terminals and entered into commercial operation to validate data taken during the development phase for future improvements.

According to Mitsui, ports which serve as global logistics hubs are large emitters of CO2 and toxic substances from diesel exhaust and are actively looking for solutions to eliminate emissions. The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach aim to eliminate emissions of all cargo handling equipment by 2030.

“The use of hydrogen allows the H2-ZE Transtainer cranes to produce zero emissions without connecting to the electric grid, enabling the terminal operators to save on civil work investment and not impact current operating procedures. Modification of diesel powered RTGs at the port is also possible, reducing the time for terminals to meet port goals,” Mitsui said.

To note, this development is part of a project encompassing a demonstration of the hydrogen supply chain from the local production of clean hydrogen to the consumption point of port container handling equipment, which is partially subsidized by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

In related news, at the beginning of 2024, Japan’s Kobe-Osaka International Port Corporation launched an initiative to showcase the operational prowess of hydrogen-fueled cargo handling machinery. The project will take place at the Kobe International Container Terminal (KICT), managed by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), at the Port of Hanshin.

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