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California SCAQMD, ARB release draft technology assessment of commercial harbor craft

26 August 2015

The California South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and the California Air Resources Board (ARB) have released a draft report “Technology Assessment: Commercial Harbor Craft”. The document examines technologies projected for development over the next five to ten years that can be applied to commercial harbor craft to reduce fuel consumption, greenhouse gases (GHG) and criteria pollutant emissions including NOx and PM. Such technologies support ARB’s long term objective of transforming the on- and off-road mobile source fleet into one utilizing zero and near-zero emission technologies to meet air quality and climate change goals.

Commercial harbor craft include a range of vessels, barges and dredges that are regulated by the ARB under the Commercial Harbor Craft Regulations. The harbor craft included in the assessment include barges, fishing vessels, crew/supply vessels, dredges, ferries, excursion vessels, pilot and other government vessels, tow/push boats for barges, tug boats for assisting ocean going vessels, and work boats for harbor construction and maintenance activities. The ARB estimates that in 2015 there will be about 3,800 commercial harbor craft vessels operating in California harbors and coastal waters, equipped with approximately 7,800 propulsion and auxiliary engines.

The technologies assessed in the report include the state of engine technology in the current commercial harbor craft fleet and developments in engine technology, alternative fuels, engine retrofit technologies, fuel cells, batteries, renewable energy sources, hybrid systems combining multiple technologies, and vessel efficiency improvements.

The report identifies three principal factors leading to deployment of low emission technologies: (1) compliance with the California Commercial Harbor Craft regulation, (2) incentive funding for surplus emission reductions, and (3) reduction in fuel cost. The Commercial Harbor Craft regulation will result in average fleet emissions equivalent at least to Tier 2 by 2023 through the deployment of current technology engines. Near term emission reductions are most likely to be provided—states the report—by replacement of marine Tier 1 and older engines with marine Tier 3 or Tier 4 engines. Most replacements will be driven by regulation but incentives can accelerate replacement prior to the regulatory schedules. Additional near term emission reductions can be provided by hybridization of existing or new vessels. Demonstration of fuel cells and battery electric propulsion systems should be encouraged and lower emission standards for marine engines should be considered and, when appropriate, adopted, says the report.

Longer term emission reductions can be obtained from lower emission standards, as well as new powertrain technologies—fuel cell and battery electric systems—for selected vessel categories. The report expects that combustion engines will remain the principal technology for harbor craft through 2025.

The report recommends the following steps to encourage deployment of low emission technologies:

Source: California ARB