HyZET: A Design and Feasibility Study of a Fuel Cell-Powered Commercial Harbor Craft

Design of a Hydrogen Fuel Cell-Powered Tugboat for the Port of Angeles



Pasadena, CA

Recipient Location


Senate District


Assembly District



Amount Spent



Project Status

Project Result

The HyZET consortium has analyzed baseline tugboat operations at the Port of Los Angeles. This analysis was used to develop a general arrangement for the tugboat and to size the fuel cell and battery energy storage systems. The HyZET consortium also conducted an economic analysis, cost-benefit analysis, and regulatory analysis for the vessel. The consortium is currently in the process of evaluating liquid hydrogen supply pathways and bunkering options for the vessel.

The Issue

In response to global initiatives from the International Maritime Organization and California's emission reduction targets, the marine industry is exploring options to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. Although liquid hydrogen (LH2) has been used in land-based industries, it has not been tested to scale in the marine sector. Furthermore, marine-ready fuel cells and LH2 storage have only recently become available. The safety, technical, and economic challenges related to using LH2 onboard a marine vessel need to be addressed.

Project Innovation

This project is supporting the Hydrogen Zero Emission Tugboat (HyZET) consortium, which comprises leading maritime stakeholders with expertise in electric propulsion system integration, fuel cell energy solution production, feasibility analysis, technology qualification, independent safety and quality assurance, vessel operation and design, LH2 integration, and upstream LH2 production. The HyZET consortium is developing an actionable hydrogen fuel cell-powered tugboat design that will be ready for construction and implementation at the Port of Los Angeles. The vessel design and feasibility study is addressing challenges related to using LH2 to power the tugboat, including how LH2 can be produced and delivered to the port.

Project Benefits

This project will assess the viability of megawatt-scale hydrogen fuel cell-powered harbor craft at California ports, enabling the economic assessment of hydrogen as a zero-emission fuel at scale. The project will accelerate the decarbonization of the marine sector by identifying and addressing challenges to using LH2 onboard a tugboat. A fuel cell-powered tugboat operating in the Port of Los Angeles is estimated to consume up to 500 kg of hydrogen per day. Deploying this type of tugboat would significantly increase the demand for hydrogen at the port complex and improve the economics of future hydrogen infrastructure investments. Furthermore, use of renewable gas and excess curtailed renewable wind and solar electricity in the production of hydrogen can help further reduce the climate impacts of port operations.

Lower Costs


This study will identify pathways to economically support the HyZET tugboat operation. As hydrogen demand increases to support the HyZET tugboat, the costs of transitioning other port applications can be reduced through scale.

Environmental & Public Health

Environmental Sustainability

Deploying a single hydrogen fuel cell-powered tugboat at the Port of Los Angeles can result in 180,000 gallons/year of avoided diesel consumption and 2,240 metric tons/year of carbon dioxide emissions savings.

Key Project Members

Project Member

Bryan Lee

Lead Project Manager



City of Los Angeles, Harbor Department


ABB Marine & Ports




Ballard Fuel Cell Systems Inc.


Chart Industries Inc.


Crowley Maritime Corporation


Match Partners


Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas)


City of Los Angeles, Harbor Department


Contact the Team