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Long Beach Port Pushes Ahead with Hybrid Tugs

Bill DiBenedetto | Wednesday September 8th, 2010 | 0 Comments

The Port of Long Beach, CA is using a $1 million grant from the California Air Resources Board to add a second hybrid tugboat that will operate in Southern California’s San Pedro Bay.

Foss Maritime Company, one of the largest tug and barge operators on the West Coast, built the first hybrid tugboat, the Carolyn Dorothy in 2008 and launched it at Long Beach last year.

But unlike the first tug, a new-build, Foss will retrofit an existing tug from its fleet with hybrid technology developed by Foss/Aspin Kemp & Associates for service in San Pedro Bay.

“We believe the retrofit will be the next step in hybrid technology evolution,” says Richard Cameron, Director of Environmental Planning at the Port of Long Beach.

Foss will retrofit the Campbell Foss, a conventional dolphin tug currently assisting oceangoing vessels in San Pedro Bay. It will be retrofitted with motor generators, batteries, and control systems at Foss’ shipyard in Rainier, Oregon.

The goal is to achieve significant reductions in pollution emissions while enhancing fuel efficiency and operational capabilities, Foss says. According to the company, projected annual emissions reductions per year include:

– More than 1.7 tons of diesel particulate matter
– More than 53 tons of oxides of nitrogen
– More than 1.2 tons of reactive organic gases
– More than 1,340 tons of carbon dioxide

In addition, more than 100,000 gallons of diesel fuel will be saved each year by using the hybrid technology, the company says.

Susan Hayman, Foss Maritime’s Vice President of Environmental and Governmental Affairs, says the company plans to introduce more hybrid tugs. She did not reveal timetables, numbers and dollars earmarked for future hybrid retrofits.

“At Foss, we have a ‘zero trace’ corporate goal and a commitment to give our customers the highest level of service,” Hayman says in a Foss media release. “Making use of cost-effective hybrid technology is an important part of our strategy as it allows us to use best-in-class, advanced technology to serve our customers and manage our expenses over the long term while safeguarding the environment at the same time.

“We have an unprecedented opportunity to transition harbor tugs around the world to vessels that deliver cleaner air and greater fuel efficiency.”

Unprecedented maybe, but follow-through and commitment is vital: Containerships, freighters and service vessels are some of the largest sources of pollution in port areas; the Foss-CARB-Long Beach alliance to retrofit tugs in San Pedro is a worthy and relatively inexpensive way to make headway in pushing pollution reductions.


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