Seaports Magazine - Fall 2013 - (Page 44)

» GUEST VIEWPOINT Considerations When Evaluating Alternative Power Sources from an Air Perspective By Bruce Anderson and Joseph Ray Starcrest Consulting Group, LLC A s ports and other participants in the logistics chain evaluate conversion from conventional energy sources, such as diesel fuel, to alternative energy sources in order to meet operational goals and compliance requirements, there are opportunities to realize potentially significant cost savings, plus environmental co-benefits from an air quality perspective. The latter reduces public opposition to operations at the port and across the entire logistics chain. There are two primary challenges from the air quality perspective facing ports: local air quality and carbon emissions, particularly carbon dioxide. Air quality has, to date, been the primary focus for nearly two decades due to the health risks associated with ozone, particulate matter emissions and sulfur oxide emissions. Carbon-related emissions have become increasingly important as an issue over the past decade, and reducing carbon emissions has growing consumer support. There are several aspects to be considered in order to maximize the co-benefits from a shift to an alternative energy source. From a port’s perspective, it is important to establish the relative importance of focusing on air quality issues or reducing carbon emissions, as programs and policies affecting one can negatively or positively affect the other. For ports, local air quality is typically the primary concern with reducing carbon emissions being secondary. For shipping companies, the primary driver is the reduction in fuel consumption, typically their largest operating cost, which also has the co-benefit of reducing carbon emissions and to a lesser extent the emission of other air pollutants. When considering air quality challenges, think of the real estate adage “location, location, location.” For emission sources in close 44 AAPA SEAPORTS MAGAZINE When considering air quality challenges, think of the real estate adage “location, location, location.” proximity to communities or other receptors, such as terminal equipment or peak shaving plants, alternative energy sources can significantly reduce the associated local/ regional health risk. Natural gas (primarily methane) in the form of liquefied natural gas or compressed natural gas can reduce oxides of nitrogen, which play a primary role in the formation of ozone, and eliminate emissions of diesel particulate matter. Hydrogen as a fuel source eliminates particulate matter, sulfur and carbon emissions. From the carbon perspective, the carbon content of the various fuel and energy sources; extraction, refining and transportation of the fuel; and other parameters should be considered. Merely changing the fuel type keeps energy production and the associated emissions at the local level, while electrification of diesel-powered equipment moves the energy production and associated emissions to the grid. Electrification moves energy production from typically small internal combustion engines to larger electricity generating sources, which typically have higher efficiencies than individual pieces of equipment and are typically regulated as stationary sources, meaning emissions per unit of energy consumed can be lower. The benefit of moving the sources of power generation to the grid from an air quality standpoint is that local generation, and the associated emissions, are reduced or even eliminated. However, from a carbon standpoint, the balance depends on the net carbon emissions of the grid – a high-carbon grid may not provide a carbon emissions benefit. With carbon emission reduction goals looking toward as much as 80 percent reduction in the future, the grid is not a given panacea, as the provider’s current and future production portfolios needs to be considered. Local or on-port power generation from renewable sources, such as wind, solar or wave energy, can help both air quality and reduce carbon emissions, while providing resiliency to grid power. While alternative power sources may be attractive from an emissions and carbon standpoint as primary power generation, diesel power generation can still be a viable option for an operation’s resiliency portfolio. Weighing the considerations among costs, air quality improvements and reducing carbon emissions to strike the proper balance must be done on an individual basis. Those that incorporate these considerations in their energy management planning efforts will be able to maximize the co-benefits of their investments and reduce their operational impacts on surrounding communities. As an example of maximizing their investment while reducing impacts on the surrounding communities, the Georgia Ports Authority has embarked on converting its rubber-tired gantry (RTG) fleet to electric-powered RTGs, which will avoid the use of 5.97 million gallons of diesel and have a net savings of nearly $10 million each year. ● Bruce Anderson is air quality director and principal of Starcrest Consulting Group, LLC, which provides technical, policy and business services support in the closely related fields of air quality, climate change and sustainability. Joseph Ray is quality assurance director and principal.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Seaports Magazine - Fall 2013

AAPA Headquarters
From the President’s Desk
LNG Poised for Dramatic Growth
Harnessing Wind Power
XXII Latin American Ports Congress Welcomes the World
Energy Policies Taking Hold
Environmental Certifications Offer Tangible Benefits
A Good Neighbor
AAPA to Honor 26 Ports for Communications at 102nd Convention
New Rules for Marine Engines Reduce Port Emissions
Marine-Based Renewable Energy Creating Opportunities on a Global Scale
Curb Energy Costs to Boost Profits, Maintain Competitiveness
Considerations When Evaluating Alternative Power Sources from an Air Perspective
Halifax to Implement Shore Power for 2014 Cruise Season
Aruba Creates Port-Funded Mangrove Reforestation Project
Arica: Meeting the Challenges Presented by Innovation and the Environment
FPL to Build Next Generation Energy Center at Port Everglades
Index of Advertisers

Seaports Magazine - Fall 2013