Harbor Commissioners on Monday lauded the potential of new technology that may reduce air pollution from giant ships docked at the Port of Long Beach by 90 percent or more.
LONG BEACH, Calif. Harbor Commissioners on Monday lauded the potential of new technology that may reduce air pollution from giant ships docked at the Port of Long Beach by 90 percent or more.
Representatives of Oxnard-based Advanced Control Technology Inc. showed the commission details of the company's concept to capture diesel exhaust from ships by deploying a flexible hood over their smokestacks.
The hood would be placed on the stack by a robotic arm and the captured exhaust would be diverted via a tube to a tank, where pollutants would be removed in a two-stage process called "wet scrubbing." The whole system would be mounted aboard a barge, making it mobile.
"I think we all find this a very interesting concept," Harbor Commissioner John Hancock said.
Ships arriving at the San Pedro Bay ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are among the largest polluters in Southern California, with each vessel emitting as much nitrogen oxide (NOx) as several thousand cars.
The South Coast Air Basin, which encompasses Orange County and parts of Los Angeles, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, exceeds federal standards for NOx and particulate matter, another pollutant created by diesel combustion.
Members of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, while enthusiastic about the Advanced Maritime Emission Control System, said they would wait until the state Air Resources Board approves the technology. Board inspectors are expected to pass judgment this fall, after Advanced Control Technology conducts tests of the system in the summer.
ACTI representative Sal Caro said the system has the potential to reduce NOx emissions by 95 percent, particulate emissions by 90 percent and sulfur dioxide emissions by 99 percent.
Port administrators said they see the technology as a complement to other pollution-reduction strategies, such as electrically powering docked ships, and encouraging the use of cleaner-burning diesel fuel as ships near ports, said port planning director Robert Kanter.
While docked, ships typically run auxiliary diesel engines to power electrical systems aboard the vessel.
Environmentalists and air quality regulators see reducing those ship emissions as a vital step in cleaning Southern California air.
Saro said ACTI is trying to negotiate a five-year contract for two barges that would cost the port $2 million annually.
Joe Hower, an environmental consultant for the port, told the commission that the technology could be more cost-effective for reducing pollution than electrically powering, or "cold-ironing," ships at port.
The system could be employed while a ship is at berth or if it's at anchor outside the harbor, as dozens were during the second half of 2004 during a period of intense port congestion.
Meanwhile, the Port of Los Angeles Harbor Board on Wednesday is scheduled to decide whether to award NYK Line $810,000 to help outfit its terminal with shore-side electrical power.
The so-called Alternative Marine Power program encourages, through monetary incentives, shipping lines and terminal operators to cold-iron to cut down on diesel exhaust.
Source: Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News