Daily GPI / Infrastructure / Natural Gas Vehicles (NGV) / NGI All News Access

SoCal Ports Eye NGVs to Reduce Air Pollution from Trucks

Commissions overseeing the Long Beach and Los Angeles Ports, the nation's busiest handling 40% of U.S. imports, on Thursday jointly approved sweeping air pollution plans calling for the eventual electrification of equipment and operations, including trucking.

Proponents of the updated plan estimate that the cost of implementation would range from $7 billion to $14 billion.

Some environmental groups and other zero-emissions advocates said the ports' Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) update doesn't go far enough, but natural gas transportation advocates lauded the action as a chance to combine the use of renewable natural gas with low-nitrogen oxide heavy duty natural gas vehicle (NGV) engines to achieve near-zero emissions.

Port officials billed the CAAP as a path toward zero-emissions in the movement of goods from the ports and the ships' port operations, handling equipment and other operations within the two adjacent marine facilities.

Clean energy milestones for trucks operating in the ports are set by the CAAP, establishing fees to provide incentives for an accelerated move away from diesel-fueled trucks to near-zero and eventually zero emission alternatives by 2035.

Unanimously approved by the two port governing boards, the CAAP update establishes that by 2020 terminal operators will be required to deploy zero-emission equipment, "if feasible, or the cleanest equipment available when procuring new cargo-handling equipment." The port commissioners said the goal is transitioning the stationary terminal cargo-handling equipment to zero emissions by 2030. The plan also sets aggressive targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all sources in the ports by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% below those levels in 2050.

Port commissioners stressed that increased coordination and advocacy will be needed between the two harbor operations, following two years of discussion on the CAAP update among industry; environmental groups; regulators; equipment and fuel vendors; technology developers, and local citizens.

Also last week, GFS Corp. unveiled the development of a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) mine haul truck conversion system for the Terex Unit Rig 4400 Model. GFS officials said six Terex Unit Rig 4400 trucks will be converted at a mine in India, using the company's new EVO-MT System. The first six converted trucks are scheduled to begin operating on LNG early next year, and the project calls for ultimately expanding to 50 trucks.

The new technology provides an integrated system consisting of onboard fuel storage and vaporization, in addition to controls and safety systems that allow the truck to operate on a combination of LNG  and diesel fuel. The EVO-MT 4400 system will provide 259 U.S. gallons of onboard LNG storage, or enough fuel to complete a 12-hour shift at the mine.

The Terex truck is the latest addition for the application of the GFS technology. It’s currently used on Caterpillar 777B, C and D, 785 B, C and D, and 793B, C and D trucks, along with 992G and K wheel loaders. It also is used on Komatsu 830DC, AC and 930E trucks. The EVO-MT systems have logged more than 400,000 hours of mining work, a GFS spokesperson said.

"This newly developed system expands on the growing list of mine equipment that can be converted to LNG," said GFS President Jason Green.

In another application, LNG for marine vessels was given a boost in Sweden recently at the Gothenburg port when seven ships were fueled by natural gas. The fuel was provided by Skangas through the bunker/distribution vessel Cornelius, operated by Anthony Veder. 

Recent Articles by Richard Nemec