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SES Launches Fourth LNG Yard Hostler Test

SES LNG yard hostler.

Sound Energy Solutions (SES) and International Transportation Service, Inc. (ITS) will jointly develop a one-year demonstration project to test the operations of three LNG-powered yard hostlers at the ITS container terminal in the Port of Long Beach, California.

Long Beach-based SES, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation in Japan, is in the process of permitting an LNG receiving terminal in the Port of Long Beach. SES has been actively promoting the use of low-emission LNG yard hostlers in the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles and in intermodal rail yards since 2005.

This new demonstration project with ITS is the fourth project that SES has worked to develop. Other projects have already been implemented with Yusen Terminals Inc. in the Port of Los Angeles, Long Beach Container Terminal in the Port of Long Beach, and BNSF Railway in the City of Commerce.

Currently, there are approximately 3,000 heavy-duty LNG-powered trucks, buses, and vehicles operating throughout California and other parts of the nation. LNG engines produce 93% lower nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions, 100 percent less sulfur dioxide (SOx) emissions, and 20% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than their traditional diesel counterparts. 

SES estimates that if all of the estimated 1,500 yard hostlers now operating in the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles were replaced with LNG-powered units, the annual emission reduction within the local community would be nearly 1,900 tons of NOx and PM combined and an annual reduction of more than 11,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

In November 2006, the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles jointly adopted the San Pedro Bay Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP). The CAAP proposes that NOx emissions in the harbor be reduced by more than 45 percent and PM emissions by more than 50% by 2012. To achieve this goal, the CAAP will require that cargo-handling equipment and on-road port drayage trucks be replaced by lower-emission technologies, including LNG yard hostlers and more than  5,000 LNG Class 8 trucks.

An earlier 14-month demonstration project utilizing LNG in two yard tractors at Yusen Terminals, Inc. (YTI) in the Port of Los Angeles found that particulate matter (PM) emissions were 93% cleaner than a standard diesel engine and 90% cleaner than an on-road diesel engine using ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel.

That demonstration project was launched in the summer of 2003 as a collaborative effort by SES, YTI and Applied LNG Technologies (ALT). The objective of the project was to deploy LNG yard hostlers (tractors) in YTI’s daily operations in order to determine their viability as an alternative to diesel fuel for terminal equipment. Prior to the project, none of the major terminal tractor manufacturers had plans to develop technology with an LNG-powered engine.

While the overall cost of each yard tractor was $35,000.00 more than a comparable diesel unit, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) recognized potential emission reduction benefits and awarded 100% funding to cover the cost difference under the Carl Moyer Program.

Although the formal demonstration project phase has been completed, SES and YTI have agreed to extend the project demonstration through the end of 2007.


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