MarAd awards $1.5M to 3 marine alternative-fuel demo projects

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Maritime Administration:

(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced a combined $1.5 million for three demonstration projects at Los Angeles Harbor, Calif.; Puget Sound, Wash., and Perryville, Mo., to reduce harmful marine emissions by repowering ship engines to use alternative fuels and technologies.  The funding is the first-ever awarded by the Maritime Administration (MARAD) for competitive selection of environmental innovation projects.

“The same benefits provided by more fuel-efficient cars, can help the maritime industry, too,” said Secretary LaHood. “By encouraging projects that involve more fuel-efficient ships, we can help businesses save money and protect the environment at the same time.”

The three awardees were chosen to partner with MARAD as part of a new program to demonstrate innovative technologies and practices and share data on the results.

“As our maritime industry enters a new era in reducing vessel air emissions, publicly-available data for promising technologies will help take the guessing game out of which ones work best for particular uses,” said MARAD Administrator David Matsuda. “Through smart environmental sustainability efforts like these, mariners who work aboard these vessels and those who live and work in port communities will all breathe cleaner air.”

Los Angeles Harbor, Calif.  Foss Maritime will receive $600,000 to convert the Los Angeles Harbor-based tugboat ALTA JUNE to a new fuel-efficient diesel hybrid engine that retains power and maneuverability while reducing emissions, noise and fuel consumption.  Just as hybrid vehicles achieve better mileage in city driving, as the starts and stops recharge its battery, a hybrid engine will specifically benefit a tugboat as it makes short trips around a harbor. 

Puget Sound, Wash.  Puget Sound Clean Air Agency will receive $400,000 to replace the engine of the Seattle-based tugboat ISLAND CHIEF with a low-sulfur diesel engine and to support a student internship program between the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and Seattle Central Community College’s Seattle Maritime Academy to provide students with field–based training and experience replacing engines.

Perryville, Mo. The Southeast Missouri Planning Commission will receive $500,000 to replace the engine of the Mississippi River-based towboat JIMMY BROWN with an engine capable of running on biodiesel fuel.  Such long trips on the Mississippi River are akin to highway driving and make the JIMMY BROWN an ideal candidate for biofuel, since it will not require frequent “braking” like a harbor tug would.

As a world leader in freight transportation, the U.S. maritime shipping industry can play a decisive role in reducing the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. The Maritime Administration and its partners have pioneered work on liquid natural gas and other clean, renewable fuel sources that are making shipping a greener industry.  Agency environmental programs are aimed at reducing pollution and the adverse environmental effects of maritime transportation and facilities on communities and livability, speeding obsolete vessel disposal, reducing marine air emissions, and treating ballast water potentially harboring invasive aquatic species.

By Professional Mariner Staff