Container Terminal Tollerort, source: HHLA

HHLA outlines key advantages of hydrogen for logistics

2022/08/25 at 11:25 AM

German leading logistics group HHLA is moving further towards decarbonisation of its activities. By 2040, the company intends to become climate-neutral. Hydrogen will play a crucial role in this process as this fuel has five essential advantages. Therefore, HHLA is carrying out several hydrogen-related initiatives.

Container Terminal Tollerort, source: HHLA
Container Terminal Tollerort will become a test field for implementing hydrogen-based solutions, source: HHLA

Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA), the German logistics giant that runs several container maritime terminals, has been working on implementing hydrogen in its activities since 2020. It is even constructing a test centre for hydrogen-powered vehicles and equipment at the HHLA Container Terminal Tollerort in Hamburg. “Hydrogen is a highly topical subject at HHLA right now. The company aims to be climate neutral by 2040. Hydrogen as an energy source can make a significant contribution to decarbonisation,” the company repeats this statement from time to time with some variations. But why is it so committed to this fuel?

Five advantages of hydrogen

In a recent blog, HHLA gave a reasoned answer to this question. It considers hydrogen more efficient than other innovative fuels due to its five key advantages. Here are they, according to HHLA’s opinion:

  1. “Hydrogen can be produced from water by electrolysis with the help of renewable energies (e.g. sun or wind). Combustion only produces water and heat. Both aspects are much more climate-friendly than fossil fuels.
  2. Hydrogen can be used as a base material for various products (such as ammonia, methanol and synthetic fuels) in the chemical industry, transport, the energy sector and many other industries.
  3. Hydrogen can be transported over long distances in various forms.
  4. As an energy storage device (fuel cell), hydrogen technology offers other possibilities than batteries in electromobility. Transport over longer distances is possible and there are no long charging times.
  5. The use of hydrogen as an energy carrier of the future can relieve the electricity grids because it can store and transport energy and release it at any time (or place)”.

Hydrogen-related initiatives

In 2020 HHLA launched the HHLA Hydrogen Network project, which aimed to identify the potential use of hydrogen in various areas of the company’s activities. Within the project, the German company is carrying out two innovation clusters: Clean Port & Logistics for testing and implementing hydrogen-powered equipment in port logistics and H2LOAD for decarbonising road haulage at the container terminals and on the last-mile connections. For instance, the first hydrogen-powered tractor unit and empty container stacker will be tried in 2023.

HHLA Hydrogen Network, source: HHLA

In addition, HHLA also participates in several other hydrogen initiatives inkling the TransHyDE research project and the H2Global Foundation. The first one is mainly dedicated to the production and transportation producing of hydrogen. At the same time, the latter is focused on more practical issues related to implementing and funding hydrogen-based solutions. As for the production of hydrogen, Hamburg is expected to become a major European hub as the power plant in the southwestern part of the city will be adapted for this purpose by 2025. The facility will produce green hydrogen with the help of electricity generated by wind turbines.

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