Port of Long Beach Testing Pollution Control for Docked Cargo Ships

by | Feb 14, 2014

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portThe Port of Long Beach, Calif., will fund testing of a new air pollution-control technology for docked cargo ships, after an agreement approved Monday by the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners.

Under the pact, the port would rely upon regional air quality authorities to oversee a demonstration project to thoroughly assess both the safety and the pollution-reducing effectiveness of a mobile, barge-mounted emissions control system to capture and treat ships’ smokestack emissions. The Port will fund the total project cost of $2,063,624.

The new system could provide an alternative to shore power, allowing ships to run their engines to produce the power they need for lighting, communications, pumps, refrigeration, etc. The “Alternative Maritime Emission Control System” or “AMECS,” diverts a docked ship’s emissions into an air-pollution filter-and-treatment device.

A Rancho Dominguez, Calif.,-based company, Advanced Cleanup Technology Inc. or ACTI, developed the AMECS technology. Under the agreement, the South Coast Air Quality Management District will supervise the testing on behalf of the Port, with Harbor Department staff oversight.

The Clean Air Action Plan approved by the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles set a goal to find alternative technology to reduce air pollution from ships at berth, for ships not covered by the state’s shore power regulation.

The Port has been working with ACTI since 2006 on demonstrating the technology. An earlier, wharf-mounted version was often called “sock on a stack” due to the large bonnet that was lifted by crane and placed over the smokestacks to capture emissions. The new system is mounted on a barge and uses a direct connection to a vessel’s exhaust outlets.

California recently began requiring container, refrigerated-cargo and cruise ships to plug in to “shore power” while at berth in order to reduce air pollution by using clean, landside electricity. However, the shore power regulations only apply to about 100 of the port’s 300 vessel calls a month.

All 13 international cargo terminals at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach now power docked ships with electricity, cutting air pollution from the ships at berth by 95 percent. The infrastructure to supply shore power — also known as cold ironing or alternative marine power — is being installed in support of clean air initiatives led by the two ports and the California Air Resources Board.

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