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Oakland invests in alternative to cold-ironing

  • Friday, 27 July 2007 | News

The Port of Oakland in the US has approved funding of $275,000 to test a new emissions reduction technology that could provide an alternative to the traditional 'cold-ironing' method.

The system, which Port officials have dubbed 'mobile shoreside power', uses liquefied natural gas-powered generators to produce electricity for shipboard operations while in port, allowing vessels to turn off their engines, as opposed to the cold-ironing method where a ship turns off its main engines and plugs into a shoreside power grid.

The Port of Oakland estimates that it would cost them more than $90 million to modify their infrastructure to implement traditional grid-based cold ironing port-wide, as the Oakland power grid does not have the capacity to handle the increased power usage from docked vessels.

Another significant feature of the project is a concession agreement between the port and their technology partner, Wittmar Engineering and Construction, under which the Port will receive 10 per cent of gross receipts on the liquefied natural gas shoreside mobile power unit under development.

If a test of the new process is successful, it will allow Port of Oakland to present its findings to the California Air Resources Board for consideration as an approved alternative technology in their proposed rule on cold ironing for major California ports, upon which a decision is expected in the autumn.

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