Port of LA to open world’s first off-grid terminal

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The Port of Los Angeles is going green

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The Port of Los Angeles is breaking ground on the Pasha Green Omni Terminal Demonstration Project, which will be the world's first marine terminal able to generate all of its energy needs from renewable sources, using zero and near-zero emission technologies. The onsite, 1.03-megawatt solar micro-grid will power what would otherwise be diesel-spewing cargo moving vehicles, including zero-emission semi-trucks that haul freight to and from facilities farther inland.

The clean air gains will equate to taking 14,100 cars per day off the road in the region surrounding the US's largest port, the single largest stationary source of pollution in the state of California. Besides an estimated reduction of 3,200 tons (2,903 tonnes) per year of greenhouse gases, the port will also see the elimination of up to 56,000 lb (25,401 kg) annually of noxious emissions, such as diesel particulate matter and nitrogen oxide. This will further burnish the port's green credentials, which have already managed to reduce diesel emissions by 80 percent over the past decade through various measures.

The massive port sits along 43 miles (69 km) of waterfront and includes 23 cargo terminals and nine container terminals, with the new 40-acre (16-hectare) Omni green terminal capable of handling large pieces of cargo that don't fit in containers. A 2.6 megawatt-hour battery storage system will allow the terminal to keep operating off-grid in the event of emergencies, such as an earthquake.

"The [Pasha Green Omni] terminal is considered a breakbulk terminal, meaning it can handle things in addition to containers, or steel slabs," Phillip Sanfield, spokesperson for the Port of Los Angeles, told Gizmag. "It's one of the reasons it was chosen for this demonstration project because it can bring in emergency supplies and equipment."

Powered by the system will be an array of specialized port vehicles designed to move cargo from ship to shore to truck, starting with two wharf cranes upgraded with electrical drives and control systems. Also included are four electrified yard tractors, two high-tonnage forklifts, two drayage trucks and a top handler. The entire fleet will be zero-emissions.

Another feature of the US$26.6-million project is the latest generation of a Marine Exhaust Treatment System (METS-1), part of a ShoreCat system designed to capture at-berth cargo vessel emissions without plugging into shore power. The port was the first to pilot such a system. It's especially important with the many unregulated cargo ships that dock at the port.

Port officials expect the new green technologies at the terminal to be up and running by the end of 2016, with a goal to increase the cargo-moving operations that are zero-emissions to 15 percent by 2025.

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