The Port of Seattle and Seattle City Light will take a deeper look at using hydrogen fuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in two studies funded by $2.12 million in Energy Department grants.

The first study will examine setting up a hydrogen fueling station for forklifts, trucks, cranes and other equipment now powered by fossil fuels. The second study will look at the risks and benefits of developing a hydrogen infrastructure at the Port that could provide energy for cruise and cargo ships as well as shore-based vehicles and equipment.

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories will assist in the studies. The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) and Paccar are partners in the study, said Fred Felleman, Port of Seattle Commission president and co-chair of the NWSA, in a written statement.

“The ability to incorporate clean hydrogen in our energy portfolio will be key to enabling the Port of Seattle and NWSA to meet our commitments to be carbon free by 2040,” Felleman said.

“It is more important than ever for Seattle City Light to collaborate with our customers who want to confront the climate crisis by decarbonizing their operations,” said Debra Smith, chief executive officer of Seattle City Light.  

Most hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels in a process that releases greenhouse gases. But in the future, more hydrogen is forecast to be produced through a process that involves electricity, which could be supplied by renewable sources of energy.

Currently, there is strong interest in using hydrogen to replace fossil fuels in some of the hard-to-decarbonize maritime and trucking industries.