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APL to test new cold-ironing system

Singapore: In a bid to cut emissions in and around ports, APL is to test an innovative variant of the concept known as cold-ironing in the Port of Oakland this summer.
 
With financial support from the Port of Oakland, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and Pacific Gas & Electric, the 863-foot container vessel APL China will conduct an 18-hour trial, plugged in to a clean shoreside electrical power source - in this case a portable generator running off LNG.
 
"We're hopeful that this will be a significant step forward in improving coastal air quality," said APL Americas president John Bowe.


Cold-ironing - also known as alternative marine power (AMP) - is not new but engineers at APL have come up with a significant development on existing technology whereby a single cable is used, as compared to 10 in other AMP designs, thereby reducing the cost and complexity of making the connection each time the vessel is docked.

Under the system a single, 3-inch-diameter high voltage cable from a shoreside power source is connected to the vessel's bow thruster circuit, driven by a high-voltage electrical motor, which is connected to the rest of the vessel's low-voltage power system through a high-voltage cable and transformer.  When the shoreside power source is connected to this circuit in the bow, the electricity can be back fed through the cable and transformer to the vessel's main switchboard to power the entire ship. 
 
Because a ship's auxiliary engines are shut down during cold-ironing, Bowe estimated that APL's plan can eliminate 1,000 pounds of nitrogen oxides (N02) emissions, 70 pounds of sulfur oxides (SO2) and 15 pounds of particulate matter in a single 24-hour port call.
 
The cost to retrofit vessels for cold-ironing under the APL scheme would be about $225,000, far less than original industry projections of $1.5 million. If the test is successful the technology could be applied by APL, and others in the industry, up and down the California coast.
 
Cold-ironing is just the latest in a series of recent environmental initiatives from APL.  In March, the carrier announced a voluntary decision to use cleaner-burning low-sulfur fuel in APL vessels berthed at the Port of Seattle.  And last December the shipping line said it will test fuel emulsification ?" injecting water into diesel fuel ?" to reduce vessel emissions.  [15/06/07]

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