Shipbuilders, Port Operators Strive to Reduce Emissions

by | Mar 5, 2010

MaerskLineShipbuilders and port truck operators are looking at different ways to reduce their emissions. As an example, Maersk, with the help of Lloyd’s Register, has launched a two-year project to test the viability of bio-diesel in marine engines. The project is partially funded by the Dutch government and coordinated by Maersk Maritime Technology.

The study will be conducted on board the Maersk Line container ship, Maersk Kalmar. Research partners include Maersk Line, Maersk Tankers, Maersk Supply Service, Maersk Drilling, Maersk Ship Management, Lloyd’s Register’s Strategic Research Group, and a consortium of Dutch subcontractors.

The team will initially test a 5 percent to 7 percent blend of bio-diesel FAME (fatty acid methyl esters) based on sustainable crops grown in (temperate) regions or reused oils. The blend percentage will be steadily increased over testing.

One goal of the study is to evaluate to what degree adverse effects found by the automotive industry in the use of FAME apply to marine engines, particularly in the areas of storage stability, handling and subsequent use in engines.

The group hopes to solve some of the drawbacks associated with FAME including adverse reaction of materials to it, susceptibility to microbial growth, adverse effects on instrumentation of the bilge water system, poor cold flow properties, and impact on the level of NOx emissions emitted.

Overcoming these hurldles comes in addition to bio-diesel’s high price tag and limited availability.

Maersk is also cutting fuel consumption on major routes by as much as 30 percent in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In the meantime, port operators are starting to see results from their clean truck standards.

As an example, 90 percent of the heavy-duty trucks serving the Port of Tacoma meet the 2010 clean truck standard, which is four percent higher than one year ago, according to a recent study, reports Tacoma Weekly. In addition, about 6 percent meet the 2015 standard of model year 2007 or newer, which is up 2 percent from last year.

The goal for the port’s Clean Truck Program, launched in 2009, is to convert its drayage fleet to cleaner trucks, although heavy diesel trucks are said to make up about 1 percent of all port-related emissions, according to the article. Commissioner Connie Bacon told the newspaper that she had concerns about the amount of resources spent on reducing just 1 percent of the overall port emissions and what the staff had planned to fix other port emissions concerns.

The Clean Truck Program’s 2010 standards, aimed at reducing port-related diesel particulate emissions, require trucks to have 1994 model-year engines or newer, according to Tacoma Weekly. The port still needs to retrofit or replace 10 percent of its entire trucking fleet to meet the 2010 goals.

The Port of Oakland began its ban on trucks with pre-1994 engines in January. The ban also applies to trucks with 1994-2003 diesel engines that haven’t been modified to comply with California Air Resources Board (CARB) Level 3 diesel particulate filters.

Last year, the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland all received funding for cleaner trucks.

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