Friday, February 14, 2014

POLB to Test New Ship Emissions Control System

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Long Beach will fund testing of a new air pollution-control technology for docked cargo ships under an agreement approved Feb. 10 by the port’s Board of Harbor Commissioners.

Under the deal, the port would rely on regional air quality authorities to oversee a demonstration project to assess the safety and the pollution-reducing effectiveness of a mobile, barge-mounted emissions control system to capture and treat ships’ smokestack emissions.

The Alternative Maritime Emission Control System, or AMECS, diverts a docked ship’s emissions into an air-pollution filter-and-treatment device.

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 landside electricity. The regulations, however, only apply to about 100 of the port’s 300 vessel calls a month.

The new system, the port says, could provide an alternative to shore power, allowing ships to run their engines to produce the power they need for lighting, communications, pumps, refrigeration and more. “We want to become a zero-emissions port, so I look forward with particular interest to see how the AMECS technology performs,” Harbor Commission President Doug Drummond said.

A Los Angeles-area company, Advanced Cleanup Technology Inc. (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 Long Beach staff oversight.

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.

The port says it will fund the total project cost of $2 million.