Port of Valencia Tests a Green Hydrogen Powered Terminal Tractor

Valencia Port hydrogen test
Image courtesy Valencia Port

Published Apr 30, 2023 3:08 PM by The Maritime Executive

Last week, the Spanish Port of Valencia became the first port in the world to launch operations of a 4×4 tractor unit powered by green hydrogen to move containers within its terminal.

The terminal tractor carried out the first operational test at Valencia Terminal Europa (VALTE) of the Grimaldi Group under the supervision of a team of inspectors of the European H2PORTS Project. It first performed an unladen test, with just the tractor head, and then hitched up a truck trailer and drove around the terminal.

This green hydrogen powered terminal tractor is part of the European project H2PORTS, which is implementing fuel cells and hydrogen technologies in European ports. It is coordinated by the Valenciaport Foundation, in close collaboration with the Port Authority of Valencia, and funded by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership Programme.

The H2PORTS project aims to test and validate hydrogen technologies on port machinery. The total project investment is roughly $4.4 million.

The 4×4 terminal tractor used in this project is reportedly the first hydrogen-powered unit in the world. It was developed by ATENA, a research and technology center made up of universities, research institutes and private companies based mainly in the Italian region of Campania.

The tractor unit is the first of two prototypes that will be tested for two years at Valencia Port. The second, which will arrive in the coming weeks, is a hydrogen-powered reach stacker (container stacker). The unit is being developed by the equipment manufacturer Hyster within the framework of the European H2PORTS project and will be tested at the MSC terminal in Valencia.

In January, the Port of Valencia installed a hydrogen supply station capable of servicing the fuel needs of the terminals. The station includes a fixed part dedicated to the reception, storage and compression of hydrogen up to the delivery pressure, and a mobile part that stores the compressed hydrogen and has a dispenser for refueling the port machinery.

“This is the first time that this machinery has worked with spectacular results to help move containers within the Port of Valencia without emissions. It is also the first time in Europe and in the world that we see this technology applied to port operations,” commented Lionel Boillot, Project Officer, Clean Hydrogen Joint Undertaking of the European Commission.