Chevron New Energies invests in zero-emission hydrogen solution for maritime industry

Chevron New Energies invests in zero-emission hydrogen solution for maritime industry
Sea Change, the world’s first commercial vessel powered 100 percent by hydrogen fuel cells, is set to become part of the San Francisco Bay Ferry fleet. (Photo credit: All American Marine)

Zero Emission Industries (ZEI), a startup company providing the hydrogen fuel cell technology that will power zero-emission ferry service in the Bay Area, recently received Series A investments from Chevron New Energies and Crowley, a U.S.-based shipping and logistics company.

The funding will help ZEI, formerly known as Golden Gate Maritime Marine, grow the zero-emission marine hydrogen market in the Bay Area and beyond.

Earlier this year, San Francisco Bay Ferry became the world’s first ferry service to commission a 75-passenger ferry that runs on hydrogen fuel cells, which have the same flexibility as diesel fuel but with zero emissions and less maintenance. The ferry is fittingly named “Sea Change.”

Unlike batteries and all-electric options, hydrogen fuel cell technology has the energy density required to efficiently operate heavy-duty vehicles that transport goods and people across the state and nation – like buses, trains, big rigs and marine vessels.

Hydrogen “is the best path to energy security and decarbonization of the maritime industry,” said ZEI CEO Joseph Pratt.

Pratt said the addition of Chevron and Crowley will bolster that pathway by bringing “a wealth of global experience and ability to scale deployment across the marine market.”

 “We’re excited to leverage this partnership with our industry-leading technology to achieve exponential growth of the marine hydrogen market,” he said.

Chevron New Energies launched last year to focus on establishing lower carbon businesses in carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), hydrogen, renewable fuels and products, offsets, and other emerging areas. The division’s vice president of hydrogen, Austin Knight, said hydrogen is well-suited to address the maritime industry’s focus on decarbonization.

“Chevron believes in the value of partnering to develop hydrogen solutions that have the potential to scale and support a lower carbon world, and this is a step in that direction,” Knight said.

The Series A announcement comes two weeks after California energy and transportation industry leaders joined elected officials for Richmond’s Road to Zero Day at the Craneway Pavilion. The event focused on the important role that hydrogen will play in the Bay Area’s energy transition.

“Investing in and developing innovative, clean energy solutions such as hydrogen is critical to reaching the maritime industry’s decarbonization goals,” said Tom Crowley, Crowley’s chairman and CEO. “We cannot reach net-zero emissions without collaboration that produces new ideas by partners and stakeholders. Working with Chevron and ZEI is an opportunity to help lead the shipping and logistics industry – and the communities we serve – to reach a more sustainable future.”