The world’s first clean energy marine terminal to be developed in LAX

Port of Los Angeles will be a proving ground for how technologies can cut emissions and improve energy resiliency at marine terminals.
Published: Mon 01 Aug 2016

The Port of Los Angeles is going to be the site of a $27 million solar and storage pilot programme, the Green Omni Terminal Demonstration Project. The aim of the project is find a more efficient and environmentally friendly solution for marine terminal operations.

The project includes a 1MW rooftop solar array, 2.6MWh battery system and a number of electric vehicles and cargo handling equipment which will be integrated into the port's operations.

The Green Omni project is being partially funded by $14.5 million from the California Air Resources Board, as the state continues its efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and other emissions while also making industrial facilities more efficient. 

Microgrids at marine terminals

With the Port of Los Angeles being the busiest gateway for commerce in the US, it is a clear choice for the demonstration’s location, according to Renita Mollman, vice president and general manager of Burns & McDonnell’s California region. She adds: “What better place to demonstrate an all-new approach to eliminating greenhouse gases and other harmful emissions.”

The Port of Los Angeles handles general, project and heavy-lift cargoes of all shapes and sizes, including break bulk commodities such as steel and containerized cargo. The Port, facilitating $270 billion in trade during 2015,  is the country’s leading seaport by container volume and cargo value. Developers of the project say this is exactly why the port is an ideal laboratory for developing zero-emission solutions for many industries.

The pilot will integrate electric vehicles and cargo handling equipment into terminal operations, along with a storage and solar system that will form a clean energy microgrid capable of powering terminal operations in the event of a wider outage. During a power outage, the solar microgrid will be able to island from the central grid and keep power flowing at the 40-acre facility. It also will supply energy and basic goods to the community and serve as a base of operations for the military in the event of a disaster.

The Green Omni Terminal is also being designed with an eye toward improving the health, quality of life, and local economy of Wilmington, an adjacent community recognized by the state as disproportionately harmed by industrial pollution.

Project to set global standards

According to the company, the Green Omni Terminal Project will “set a whole new standard. It is expected that a number of other facilities will be launching similar zero-emissions projects based on the results from the Green Omni Terminal.

The solar system will operate in parallel with the Los Angeles area grid and will be able to island itself in an outage. Keeping portions of the Omni Terminal operational during an outage will allow it to function as a depot for emergency goods and services to the broader Southern California region.

The terminal will also feature charging infrastructure that converts AC to DC power which is needed for battery-powered vehicles and equipment. Electric equipment at the terminal will include: battery-powered drayage trucks and yard tractors, and two 21-ton forklifts a top handler for loading and unloading goods. In addition to this, a ShoreCat Marine Exhaust Treatment System is expected to capture more than 90% of emissions, including carbon dioxide emissions, from stacks of berthed ships at the terminal.

All the improvements at the Green Omni Terminal are expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 3,230 tons per year which is equivalent to the removal of 14,100 vehicles from Southern California’s roads.

The project will be a scalable model to upgrade the 26 other terminals at the Port of Los Angeles, as well as other terminals worldwide. The design-build project delivery will also demonstrate why it could be the best system to make complex improvements and upgrades with no interruption to ongoing terminal operations.

The California Air Resources Board is contributing $14.5 million from the state’s cap-and-trade auctions to the project. The competitive grant required matching funds of at least 25%. Pasha, the port, and other partners exceeded that threshold with a 44%funding match. Pasha has committed $11.4 million in cash and in-kind participation.

Engineering work on the project will be carried out by Burns & McDonnell which has already executed a number of microgrid projects incorporating solar and zero emissions technology. Work will start in August, with construction scheduled for October and it is expected to be complete by the middle of next year.

Smarter and clean energy for marine ports

Microgrid technology has been successful in curbing frequent power outages, energy insecurity, fluctuating costs, and depleting fossil fuels. Also, it will prove to be instrumental in the area where main grid cannot be planted. Microgrids utilizing renewable energy sources for power generation have higher efficiency, improved quality of power, and reduced costs, thereby making it a popular choice. Moreover, there is almost zero carbon emission in the case of renewable energy systems.

The rising demand for power that is emission-free, reliable, and secure is a driving factor behind the growth of the global microgrid market, according to Transparency Market Research and the market is set to only grow further in high energy use places like ports. Growing at a remarkable CAGR of 20.7% from 2014 to 2020, the global microgrid market is expected to rise to a value of US$35.1 billion by 2020 from the estimated US$9.8 billion in 2013.

The marine port is an interesting space to watch as it transforms to consumption which is cleaner, more cost effective and even more efficient. [Engerati-North Sea Harbours Demonstrate Smart Energy Potential]

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