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PNW Trifecta: Shore power at Tacoma, FAA grant for Sea-Tac, EPA award for Portland

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It was a very good week indeed for green and Pacific Northwest—the PNW’s first cargo ship plugged into shore power at the Port of Tacoma, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport received an $18 million environmental grant and the Port of Portland received a 2010 Green Power Leadership Award from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Here’s the run-down:

- State, federal and Port of Tacoma and Totem Ocean Trailer Express officials flipped the switch on October 27 on the Pacific Northwest’s first cargo ship to run on dockside shore power.

Helped by an EPA grant worth nearly $1.5 million, two TOTE cargo ships will now plug into electrical power and shut down diesel engines while docked during weekly calls at their Tacoma terminal. Also known as cold ironing, it’s a great way to reduce air-polluting diesel emissions, but has been slow to catch on. Passenger vessels at the Port of Seattle have had the shore power option for several years.

Tacoma port officials said the $2.7 million shore power project will reduce diesel and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90 percent during TOTE’s 100 ship calls each year in Tacoma. That equals about 1.9 tons of diesel particulates and 1,360 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

TOTE, a private shipping company that serves the Alaska trade, contributed about $1.2 million to retrofit the two ships to accommodate shore power connections and add some of the terminal infrastructure. The port provided environmental permitting, grant administration and project management.

The EPA grant was provided under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act
(ARRA) of 2009 National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program. Read the rest of this entry »

PNW flys with biofuel

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Pacific Northwest aviation businesses and airports are flying together to promote aviation biofuel development in the region.

The “strategic initiative,” launched this week, includes Alaska Airlines, The Boeing Company, Portland International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Spokane International Airport and Washington State University. The  “Sustainable Aviation Fuel Northwest” project is the first regional assessment of this kind in the U.S., according to a joint announcement from the group.

It will examine all phases of developing a sustainable biofuel industry, including biomass production and harvest, refining, transport infrastructure and actual use by airlines. It will include an analysis of potential biomass sources that are indigenous to the Pacific Northwest, including algae, agriculturally based oilseeds such as camelina, wood byproducts and others. The project is jointly funded by the participating parties and is expected to be completed in about six months.

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Written by William DiBenedetto

July 15, 2010 at 9:03 am

KLM flies passengers with bio-kerosene

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If you were one of the passengers on KLM Royal Dutch Airline’s first passenger flight powered by bio-kerosene last week, then you were also one of the first to get a whiff of this new sustainable fuel, if indeed it is whiff-able.

The Netherlands airline also announced the formation of a joint venture to develop sustainable biofuels on a large scale. Called SkyEnergy, the consortium includes KLM, North Sea Petroleum and Spring Associates. In addition, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) will advise the consortium about the ecological aspects of the venture.

Peter Hartman, KLM’s president and CEO, said the test flight proved that “this is technically feasible. Government, industry and society at large must now join forces to ensure that we quickly gain access to a continuous supply of biofuel.”

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Written by William DiBenedetto

November 30, 2009 at 12:53 pm

GoGreen gets to North America

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dhl_gogreen11DHL’s GoGreen climate change program has reached North America’s shores, but not the U.S.  A year after the GoGreen launch in Europe the German package express delivery and logistics has made it available in Canada.

DHL Express Canada’s GoGreen service is described by the company as a “carbon-neutral” shipping option that “enables Canadian businesses of all sizes to ship their goods internationally without leaving an environmental footprint.”

DHL adds that the value-added service that makes use of carbon offsets and low emission transporation technologies provides companies with a seamless, eco-friendly friendly shipping option; it’s available from anywhere in Canada to more than 220 countries around the world.

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Written by William DiBenedetto

October 27, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Lighten the load, save the planet

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ANAHere’s my offering for Blog Action Day:

There’s All Nippon Airways’ bizarre initiative urging passengers to visit the terminal restroom and “lighten the load” before boarding their planes. These pre-flight emissions apparently will help reduce fuel and carbon emissions, according to a recent report in the UK’s Daily Mail.

Seriously, the Japanese airline says lighter passengers mean lighter aircraft, which means less fuel consumption. It has a kind of Fox News logic to it maybe, but then … never mind.

Nippon hopes the one-month trial, which started Oct. 1, will reduce carbon emissions by five tons in 30 days. It might be interesting to delve into how ANA came up with that number and the science and measurement techniques used, but then… never mind.

It’s just another dumb thing that passengers are subjected to the minute we enter the airport. I know – let’s require all passengers to disrobe entirely before boarding and carry-on a maximum of 10 pounds of stuff and no baggage. (That would also make going through security much more fun and a breeze, so to speak.)

How about requiring that we go on a diet and lose at least five pounds before every flight? That would lighten the load considerably and contribute to the general health of the populace.

Then once aboard, instead of pretzels during the flight airlines could serve beans because after all, they need the gas.



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Written by William DiBenedetto

October 15, 2009 at 11:47 am

DOE grant helps Sea-Tac go electric

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seatacgroundThe Department of Energy awarded $5 million to help the Port of Seattle’s Seattle-Tacoma Airport install electric charging stations for aircraft ground support equipment.

Airlines operating at Sea-Tac and the port, which owns and operates the airport, will match the DOE grant.

The cost-share project will replace about 200 gas and diesel vehicles with electric-powered equipment, and will save more than 400,000 gallons of fuel a year, according to DOE.

The move “jumpstarts Sea-Tac’s efforts to be the first airport in the U.S. to fully electrify its fleet of ground support equipment,” the agency says. Sea-Tac currently has about 650 ground support vehicles.

In addition to the fuel savings, the project is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 4,500 metric tons per year.

Initial focus of the project will be gasoline baggage tractors and loading equipment because they are large fuel consumers at the airport. The project will install new electric charging stations on the ramp area.

For more information on activity nationwide on cost-sharing projects under the Clean Cities program, which is funded with nearly $300 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, visit the DOE website page or the Puget Sound Clean Cities Coalition.

Written by William DiBenedetto

August 27, 2009 at 11:03 am

Camelina seed going airborne?

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camelina31There’s algae and switchgrass – now add camelina to the roster of second generation biofuel crops.

Camelina could become a major player in the realm of aviation fuels. The Bozeman, MT renewable fuel company Sustainable Oils says the results of a life cycle analysis of jet fuel derived from camelina seeds shows that the fuel reduces carbon emissions by 84 percent compared to petroleum jet fuel.

Sustainable’s research was done in collaboration with UOP, a Honeywell company, at Michigan Tech University. The study was based on camelina grown in Montana and processed into biojet fuel using UOP’s hydroprocessing refining technology.

(Click here for a description of the UOP Renewable Jet Process.)

“The quickest way to reduce carbon emissions from aviation is to begin replacing petroleum fuel with fuel made from renewable and sustainable camelina oil,” says Scott Johnson, general manager of Sustainable Oils. “The acreage that we have contracted for 2009 will be used primarily to continue to develop the promising biojet market.”

He adds that the company has planted “thousands of acres” of camelina “specifically for this use.” This will “prepare us to supply the hundreds of millions of gallons of fuel we will need within five years. No other potential feedstock can provide as much fuel in as short a horizon.”

So what is camelina? It’s it’s a plant that produces seeds that are apparently well-suited as a sustainable biofuel crop. The seeds naturally contain high oil content. Also ithe oils are low in saturated fat, the plant is drought resistant and requires less fertilizer and herbicides.

Most importantly, it is an excellent rotation crop with wheat, and it can grow in marginal land.

Camelina does not displace other crops or compete as a food source. It is estimated that the state of Montana alone could support between 2 and 3 million acres of camelina, generating 200 to 300 million gallons of oil each year.

“Camelina is one of the most promising sources for renewable fuels that we’ve seen,” said Billy Glover, managing director, Environmental Strategy, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “It performed as good if not better than traditional jet fuel during our test flight with Japan Airlines earlier this year, and supports our goal of accelerating the market availability of sustainable, renewable fuel sources that can help aviation reduce emissions. It’s clear from the LCA results that camelina is one of the leading near-term options and, even better, it’s available today.”photopage1jaldemo

Professor David Shonnard, Robbins Chair Professor of Chemical Engineering at MTU says, “Camelina green jet exhibits one the largest greenhouse gas emission reduction of any agricultural feedstock-derived biofuel I’ve ever seen.

“This high number is the result of the unique attributes of the crop – its low fertilizer requirements, high oil yield and the use of co-products, such as meal and biomass, for other uses.”

Sustainable Oils is a joint venture between Targeted Growth Inc., a renewable energy bioscience company, and Green Earth Fuels, a vertically integrated biodiesel energy company.


Written by William DiBenedetto

April 28, 2009 at 10:54 am

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