MARAD to fund development of LNG-powered inland towboat

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

(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) today announced that it will provide over $1 million to support the development of two new emission-reducing maritime solutions. The first is a cutting-edge liquefied natural gas (LNG) conversion demonstration project and the second is modification of an on-board air pollution control device that will aid the United States maritime industry’s ongoing effort to decrease its environmental footprint, one more measure spearheaded by the Obama Administration’s climate initiative to find cutting edge technologies that cut pollutant emissions.


“The Department continues to fund innovative projects that support a steady shift towards cleaner and sustainable transportation options,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This public-private venture will produce the data required to further develop even cleaner and more sustainable maritime transportation options.”


Through a cooperative agreement, MARAD has provided $730,000 to Pittsburgh Region Clean Cities (PRCC) to convert a towboat engine from diesel to LNG. Results from this demonstration project will help expand the development and availability of natural gas conversion technology for smaller scale tug, tow, and harbor vessels.  PRCC will collect air emissions data before and after the conversion, which will allow for operational and emissions comparisons.


A separate cooperative agreement will provide Interlake Steamship Company (Interlake) of Ohio $500,000 to retrofit the M/V Lee Tregurtha, which operates on the Great Lakes, with exhaust gas-scrubber technology.  This modification will significantly reduce sulfur emissions and meet or exceed North American Emissions Control Area requirements for the 800-foot, bulk-cargo vessel. Interlake will provide MARAD with pre- and post-installation air emissions data, and lessons learned on scrubber installation and operation.


“These investments accelerate the growth of alternative fuel and environmental technologies throughout the United States’ maritime industry. These projects will yield data that will support future commercial investment decisions and will provide lasting benefits for our nation while helping us reduce the industry’s environmental footprint,” said Maritime Administrator Paul ‘Chip’ Jaenichen. “This is how government can work to encourage technology advancement and environmental stewardship.”


These demonstration projects are part of ongoing work by MARAD’s Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance Program (META) and the maritime industry to conduct research and demonstration projects in support of identifying alternative fuels and technologies for marine applications.  The META Program is administered by the Maritime Administration’s Office of Environment and is designed to foster collaboration with maritime stakeholders to address emerging environmental challenges.

By Professional Mariner Staff