Nearly $1.5m in grant money recently awarded to the Port of Tacoma will empower Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Inc. (TOTE) to reduce the particulate matter and greenhouse gas emissions of its two Orca Class vessels by an estimated 90 percent while at TOTE’s Tacoma terminal.
The emissions reduction will be the end result of the Port of Tacoma adding 600,000 volt electrical maritime power at the terminal and TOTE retrofitting both vessels with electrical power plug-ins. This will allow the ships to turn their engines off while docked, eliminating at-berth diesel idling. Each vessel calls on the Port of Tacoma one time per week for about 12 hours.
The grant for the project was awarded by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 10 under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009, which was signed into law by President Obama on Feb. 17, 2009, and the National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program. EPA Region 10 -- including Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington -- received more than 49 grant applications requesting over $80m to help fund clean diesel emissions project. The recipient of the award was chosen to both maximize economic impact and emissions reductions.
TOTE’s vessels will be the first in the Port of Tacoma to use shore-side power while they are docked.
TOTE has a long history of exploring ways to minimize its environmental impact and had already been moving forward with plans for shore-side power. In 2008, TOTE spent nearly $900,000 on the beginning stages of retrofitting its two ships to accommodate shore power connections.
“When this grant became available, we had already been researching this project,” said TOTE Vice President of Marine & Terminal Operations Phil Morrell. “We had a lot of information already packaged – costs, drawings, emissions testing data – and we were able to respond quickly.”
TOTE also has committed to contributing an additional $283,000 to complete the project, which is scheduled to be up-and-running by September 2010. Additional retrofitting work will be completed on each vessel during its regularly-scheduled drydocking this winter.
It is estimated this project will help create or sustain an estimated 50 manufacturing and local installation jobs. Morrell said though the project will be beneficial to the economy, as well as the environment, it will also have a positive financial impact on TOTE.
“This is such a win-win project,” Morrell said. “Our electric bill will be higher, but we will see a tremendous financial payback because we’re not burning fuel.”