Mi-Jack develops hydrogen powered gantry crane

By Niamh Marriott29 March 2023

US Hybrid, a subsidiary of Ideanomics, has been selected by USA manufacturer Mi-Jack to convert the fuel source of a rubber tire gantry (RTG) crane from fossil diesel to hydrogen.

Mi-Jack will install the hydrogen propulsion kit into the RTG crane at its Illinois facility (Photo: Ideanomics)

US Hybrid is managing all procurement, engineering and design work relating to the hydrogen propulsion kit.

The company will source a hydrogen fuel cell system from Hyundai Motor Corp and will locally manufacture core components including the hydrogen storage tanks and cooling systems.

All manufacturing, assembly and system testing will occur at US Hybrid’s engineering facility in California.

Mi-Jack will install the hydrogen propulsion kit into the RTG crane at its Illinois facility, with US Hybrid providing all necessary engineering diagrams and on-site support.

Carbon neutral

“The new reality for intermodal terminals is achieving carbon neutrality. Offering hydrogen-powered RTG cranes is paramount for ensuring terminals meet their carbon neutrality goals without compromising on performance,” said Aaron Newton, VP of sales at Mi-Jack.

RTG cranes are one of the hardest pieces of port and railyard equipment to decarbonise, US Hybrid said.

The cranes operate 10-20 hours per day, continuously lifting shipping containers that can weigh 36 tonnes when fully loaded. This job requires a lot of power, and most RTG cranes still rely on fossil fuels to meet this need. On average, a RTG crane burns 38 litres of diesel per hour.

Fuel cells

Hydrogen fuel cells can be refilled fast, are proven to operate efficiently in extreme hot and cold weather, and deliver the same or more power as diesel. Powered by hydrogen, RTG cranes can keep operating reliably with zero emissions.

“For our engineers at US Hybrid, this is a dream project. They get to come up with a zero-emission way to power a very big and energy intensive piece of machinery,” said Macy Neshati, chief commercial officer at Ideanomics.

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