Hybrid Technologies to Launch EV Distributor Network
Japanese Companies Form Joint Venture for Dimethyl Ether Production

Port of Los Angeles Signs Agreement with Norwegian Cruise Line for Cold Ironing and Other Programs

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has signed a multi-year agreement with the Port of Los Angeles which includes commitments to several environmental programs, including the use of alternative maritime power (AMP), which becomes available in 2008, on its Norwegian Star ship, which is homeported at the Port of Los Angeles.

Environmental program commitments in the agreement include: compliance with the Port’s Vessel Speed Reduction Program which eliminates air emissions by slowing the ship significantly when it comes within 40 nautical miles of the Port; using low sulfur fuel (less than 0.5% sulfur—5,000 ppm) while navigating in and around the Port of Los Angeles; and AMP, also known as cold-ironing, which allows the ship to turn off its diesel-burning engines while at dock and plug into clean, shoreside electrical power.

The only way we are going to lower port-related air pollution is to continue to push the envelope in reaching new agreements with our partner tenants.

—Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D., Port executive director

In November 2006, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach approved a joint action to improve air quality in the South Coast Air Basin called the Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP). (Earlier post.) The five-year plan is a blueprint for the ports to significantly reduce the health risks posed by air pollution from port-related ships, trains, trucks, terminal equipment and harbor craft. Considered a “living document,” the plan allows for updating as new technologies and processes become available. As part of the CAAP, the ports will be utilizing electrical shore power whenever possible, as demonstrated by this latest agreement with NCL.

The Port of Los Angeles is the first and only port in the world currently using AMP technology on container ships. The move to use AMP technology on cruise ships has been under negotiation for some time. Princess Cruise Line has also signed an agreement to utilize AMP technology for its cruise ships at the Port of Los Angeles.

Princess was an early adopter with AMP, beginning its program in Juneau in the summer of 2001. The program expanded to Seattle in summer 2005, and the technology is now featured on 10 ships which are equipped to use local hydroelectric power. All Princess ships currently sailing from the Port of Los Angeles are fully equipped and ready to plug into shore power when it debuts there.


Bike Commuter Dude

Wow, they use the term 'low-sulfur' pretty loosely: 5,000 ppm!! I know that some maritime fuels are many times more 'sour', but compared to low-sulfur diesel in the US (500ppm) and ULSD now available (<15ppm), 5,000 ppm seems outrageous. Some heavy oil fuels, especially from countries in southeast Asia, contain as much as 2.74% (27,400 ppm)! Why is it so expensive/difficult to remove the sulfur in these applications?



Bike Commuter Dude,
Ship fuel - heavy fuel oil - is often the product of refining process. Marine diesels (2-cycle, multi-MW) are designed to use it. It is more viscous, denser and is often high in sulfur and other contaminants. It is also cheap, and operators like it as an inexpensive fuel. Removing the contaminants is expensive, and also more energy intensive. Shippers will pass the higher costs onto the customers.

_There are 2 main ways (not mutually exclusive) to reduce emissions when ships are entering/at port. One is a separate tank of cleaner fuel to use while within 12nm of land. Second is to use a system like the one above, a direct electrical power connection.


If the fuel can't (or won't) be cleaned up then some technology needs to be implemented that scrubs the exhaust a bit like coal fired power plants have.

Rafael Seidl

Bike Commuter Dude -

it's not so much difficult as expensive to remove sulphur from crude oil distillates. It takes a lot of energy plus hydrogen, which is available in a refinery but is also need for various other purposes.


The other big issue is that refineries need a way to get all of the end products of their operations off their premises, preferably by selling them. There is no shortage of sulphur in the world, so chances are aggressive desulphurization of even heavy fuel oil would turn what is now a saleable by-product into waste refiners would have to pay someone to dump. This is why US refineries had to be forced to produce ULSD, something I expect they lobbied against.

European refineries have also had to upgrade but many are able to source sweeter grades of crude because high taxes on on-road fuels mask the price differential in the crude and the cost of desulphurization in relative terms. Austria's refinery near Vienna had to install a Claus plant decades ago because the Soviets forced it to trade a lot of a locally produced sweet grade of crude for sour dross from Siberia, in order to get the Red Army to leave the country in 1955.

Erick -
good idea, but it runs smack into the same problem Allen brought up - sharply increased cost of ownership.

In addition, national jurisdictions end 12 miles off shore, with lesser rights extending somewhat further out. The open ocean is, legally speaking, a commons subject to international maritime law, which is very hard to tighten up because a lot of third world countries are flag carriers for cargo ships. That is why e.g. California can only insist on the use of low-sulphur fuel close to shore. This requires operators to install a second, small fuel tank or, tug services using boats running exclusively on clean fuel.

Since fish don't have a vote and shipping traffic is not dense enough to cause measurable acid rain damage on land, ship engines are permitted to burn the sulphur-laden residue left over after all the lighter fractions have been removed from the crude oil. Sour crudes containing a lot of sulphur to begin with (from Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela, Ecuador etc.) are far cheaper than sweet grades like the benchmark West Texas Intermediate (US) and Brent (Europe).


yeah wow, using low sulfur fuel (less than 0.5% sulfur—5,000 ppm) – man, that's really low.
come on. how about at least a tenth of that?

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)