Port of L.A. to Deploy Fuel Cell Yard Trucks in State-Funded Project

Ballard Power Systems will provide fuel cell modules to power two port terminal yard trucks as part of a project being managed by GTI and partially funded by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

CARB has preliminarily awarded $5.7 million to GTI for the Zero Emissions for California Ports (ZECAP) Project. The project aims to validate the commercial viability of zero-emission, fuel cell electric hybrid yard trucks operating in a demanding, real-world, cargo-handling application. The ZECAP Project is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts cap-and-trade dollars to work in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment, particularly in disadvantaged communities.

The project will develop, validate and deploy two Capacity TJ9000 fuel cell electric hybrid yard trucks at the Port of Los Angeles. The yard trucks will be operated by TraPac; Ballard will provide 85 kW FCveloCity-HD fuel cell modules for primary propulsion of each yard truck; and BAE Systems will provide the electric drive system and be responsible for systems integration by using its HDS200 HybriDrive propulsion system.

The yard trucks will move cargo containers within the terminal yard. Ballard plans to deliver power modules in 2019, and a 12-month operating period is planned for the project beginning in March 2020.

“Heavy-duty vehicles have a disproportionate impact in terms of air pollution, with buses and trucks accounting for less than 10 percent of vehicles on the road but about one-quarter of all carbon-dioxide emissions, plus a significant amount of pollutants in California,” says Rob Campbell, Ballard’s chief commercial officer. “This heavy-duty vehicle project with GTI and BAE Systems is an important step forward in addressing this issue, particularly at shipping ports where a significant amount of pollution currently occurs. Hydrogen and fuel cells deliver an attractive value proposition, including zero emissions, extended vehicle range, long duty cycles, rapid refueling and zero compromise on payload.”

“GTI is excited to be a part of this project team, including Ballard, that brings leadership and experience in their respective fields to propel the transition to a post-petroleum, heavy-duty trucking economy,” adds Ted Barnes, GTI’s research and development director. “We are very excited to showcase this breakthrough technology and its ability to provide a zero-emission solution for heavy-duty truck operators and the citizens of California.”


  1. Dear Mr. Abramowitz, We are not certain of your agenda either so if you could please provide detail on how this Fuel Cell powered truck compares to diesel power in overall cost of ownership. If you would please use the TraPac operation for this comparable so that we can see the true environmental impact.

  2. I’m not sure what your agenda is, but there is no reason why this technology shouldn’t be an easy and a well-performing replacement for diesel in a port application.

    • Mark,

      If this was an easy and a well performing replacement for diesel, they would prove it by doing a trial at any berth other than TraPac. TraPacs choice to go automated moved it from the highest to lowest performing terminal in both moves per hour and total volume.

      At TraPac this truck will sit for hours. At TTI, Maersk, SSA, etc all, this truck would be driven non stop for hours.

      Mark, did you even read my comment? How many years have you been in the waterfront?

  3. This will only almost work at Trapac because they are so slow and move so few containers compared to a non automated terminal. Trapac uses Automated Straddle Carriers to move containers, not yard trucks.

    Put another way, using these at TraPac is being done on purpose because there will be almost nothing asked of them, therefore the “validation” will be deemed a “success.” Then the state of CA can force the taxpayers to pay for these systems provided by companies that are friends of said politicians, harbor commissioners, etc.


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