BALTIMORE, April 8, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Proven and potential solutions to improve the air quality and the environmental profile of major U.S. ports is the focus today of a port stakeholder summit organized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
A number of representatives from U.S. ports, national environmental organizations, manufacturers, and state and federal agencies are participating in the EPA's "Port Stakeholders Summit: Advancing More Sustainable Ports" conference. (http://www.epa.gov/otaq/ports/ports-summit.htm)
The EPA summit includes work sessions where participants are examining the potential best practices in operational strategies, new technologies - including engine and vehicle technologies - and approaches to encourage local community engagement.
Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum, is scheduled to serve as the facilitator of the final working group. (http://www.dieselforum.org/)
"Our nation's ports are the economic engines for the global economy," Schaeffer said. "They are also comprised of local businesses in local communities that provide tens of thousands of jobs in the receiving, moving, transferring and delivering the goods our economy demands.
"Diesel power is the engine for America's ports. Nationwide, 84 percent of all tonnage is moved by diesel powered vehicles, engines and equipment. This national conversation on ports is valuable in helping everyone learn more about how goods move in and out of ports and the patterns of use of trucks, trains, boats and barges that move and handle these goods.
New Diesel Engines & Equipment Have Near Zero Emissions
"Diesel engine and equipment manufacturers are now producing new clean trucks and material handling equipment such as lifts and cranes that have near-zero emissions. This coincides with the new generation of clean diesel trucks that are emitting now near zero emissions. The expanding deployment of these new technologies is driving further emissions improvements and CO2 reductions across the United States and our ports since 2007.
"And the beginning of this year marked the introduction of near zero emissions off-road engines and equipment for material handling. New marine and rail clean diesel technologies will be available in less than 10 months.
Modernizing & Upgrading Older Diesel Engines Can Reduce Port Emissions
"Immediate improvements can be made at our ports today, through Investments in new clean diesel technology. There is an increasing expertise in modernizing and upgrading existing engines and equipment, and the ports have been a real success story there.
"It's also good that EPA announced today $4 million in new Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding for six ports in California, Washington, Maryland and Virginia to upgrade and repower diesel engines. To date, these federal retrofit efforts have in large part been enabled by funding through the DERA. (http://www.epa.gov/otaq/ports/ports-dera-rfp.htm)
"While there has been some question about the need for the DERA program by EPA, recent statements by several of Members of Congress in both the House and Senate have sent a strong and bipartisan message about their view of the benefits and importance of the continuation of the DERA program."
Clean Diesel Success Stories at the Port of Long Beach & Port of Los Angeles
Schaeffer pointed to the emissions reductions at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles as examples to two success stories.
"Thanks to the introduction of new clean diesel engines deployed in the many applications in ports, along with retrofit activities to install emission control technologies on older diesel engines, air quality in ports is rapidly improving," Schaeffer said. "Nowhere is this more evident than in Southern California. The Port of Los Angeles estimates that between 2005 and 2012, particulate matter (PM) decreased by 77 percent, or 645 tons per year, while Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) was reduced by 56 percent, or 9,100 tons per year.
"Other ports have also reported similarly impressive emission reductions. The overwhelming majority of these clean air achievements are attributable to the introduction of clean diesel technology in ports.
"Strategies to reduce emissions from ports have targeted three areas - improving operational efficiencies at the port; programs to reduce emissions from the trucks, trains and tugboats and other material handling equipment servicing the port; and efforts to control emissions from the ships and other vessels serving the ports," Schaeffer said.
"The Diesel Technology Forum is pleased to join in this national conversation on ports. The Forum was invited and serves on EPA's Executive Steering Committee with 10 other stakeholders representing environmental, community and state and federal government agencies," Schaeffer said. "The Forum is committed to continuing to work with national and local environmental and community groups, and state and federal government agencies to further improve our port communities."
More information about EPA's National Conversation on Ports: www.epa.gov/otaq/ports/
ABOUT THE DIESEL TECHNOLOGY FORUM
The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit national organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology, and working with policymakers and other stakeholders on common solutions. Forum members are leaders in clean diesel technology. For more information visit www.dieselforum.org.
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SOURCE Diesel Technology Forum