The strategic plan for reducing pollution from drayage trucks in Los Angeles-Long Beach will involve the use of proven low-emission fuels in the short term, leading to zero-emission technologies in the future, according to a local regulator.
Harbor truckers in Los Angeles-Long Beach have been quick to adopt low-emission fuels such as clean diesel, compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas. They are also testing advanced technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells and electric trucks.
If Southern California as a region is to meet the long-term goals established by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, it must adopt zero-emission technologies, said Annie Nam, program manager, transportation finance and goods movement, at the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
Nam told the Alternative Clean Transportation Expo Wednesday in Long Beach that like other non-attainment regions, Southern California risks the loss of significant federal funding if it fails to meet EPA’s standards by 2035.
Zero-emission technologies must be improved if they are to going to have application to the harbor trucking environment. Electric trucks, for example, work well shuttling containers short distances, but they do not have the range to serve distribution hubs such as the Inland Empire 50 miles east of Los Angeles.
Those corridors are just now developing an infrastructure of fueling stations for low-emission products like CNG and LNG, and such fuels are likely to carry the industry until the long-term requirements take effect.
Siemens of Germany is working on zero-emission technologies that can reach destinations 50 miles or further from the ports, such as a catenary system that is similar to the overhead electric wires used to power buses in some cities. Siemens believes this 130-year-old technology would have application to the harbor environment.
Trucks would be connected to the overhead electric wires and travel on defined paths linking the harbor with high-volume destinations. Siemens has a prototype system in Germany, according to Martin Birkner, from the infrastructure and cities sector logistics division at Siemens.
Patrick Couch, project director at Gladstein, Neandross & Associates, which is also studying a catenary system, said the initial application would probably be to serve near-dock rail yards such as the Intermodal Container Transfer Facility and a facility planned adjacent to the ICTF. More than 2 million containers a year will eventually move between Los Angeles-Long Beach harbor and the two rail yards.
Couch said a chief complaint residents might have about the catenary system is, “I don’t like the overhead wires,” but there are ways to mitigate the visual impact, he said.