Business, Freight News, Sea

GPA wins EPA Clean Air award

[ July 1, 2016   //   ]
The Georgia Ports Authority has received a 2016 EPA Clean Air Excellence Award for its electric rubber-tired gantry crane program that will transfer its container handling equipment from diesel to electric power.

In 2012, GPA began to implement the electric rubber tired gantry crane program. By the end of August, 45 will have been transitioned from diesel to electric power or purchased with electric power capability, bringing GPA’s eRTG fleet to 30 percent of the total.

This cutting-edge technology, built to a GPA design, is the first eRTG installation of its kind at a port in North America.

“The eRTG project is unique and innovative, a model others can follow with GPA’s partners to effectively work together for a common goal to reduce energy usage and diesel emissions,” said incoming GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch.

At a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awards ceremony held recently in Washington, D.C., Hope Moorer, general manager of waterways and navigation programs, was on hand to personally receive the award on behalf of the GPA.

“It is an honor to be recognized in this way by the EPA,” Moorer said. “The award highlights the Georgia Ports Authority’s commitment to operating its terminals in an environmentally responsible manner.”

GPA has invested over $17.5 million to bring the 45 electric RTGs online. Over the next 10 years, the entire fleet of 169 machines will have electric power capability. This milestone project increases capacity and productivity in an environmentally responsible way, as the eRTGs use 95% less diesel fuel than conventional RTGs, with corresponding reduced diesel emissions for improved local air quality.

The GPA was one of seven groups or individuals recognized by the EPA for innovative work on clean air and climate projects. The 2016 Clean Air Excellence Awards are given to state, local, tribal, and private sector programs that educate the public in improving air quality or reducing harmful air pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions.

“Each of these award winners has taken real, tangible steps to improve public health in their communities by reducing air pollutants or greenhouse gases,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “These projects reflect the creativity and commitment of public and private sector organizations to make a difference and drive us toward a cleaner, healthier future.”

Lynch credited outgoing GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz for his leadership in making the eRTG program a reality.

“Until this program, there had been no successful alternative allowing the transition of existing diesel-based yard equipment to electric power,” Foltz said. “In this case, we needed to think outside of the box, and put together a team that could achieve that goal.”

Project partners include Konecranes, Inc., Georgia Power, the Electric Power Research Institute, and Conductix-Wampfler.

At full build-out, electric RTGs willcut diesel consumption by more than 3 million gallons per year, for a net savings of over $9 million – providing a positive environmental message to the community and customers. The annual reduction in CO2 will be almost 70 tons by 2026.

GPA officials said the business case for the eRTG project is reinforced when combined with lower maintenance reduction costs, bringing a total expected savings to more than $11 million per year.

The Clean Air Excellence awards program was established in 2000, and recognizes individuals that serve as pioneers in their fields, advance public understanding of air pollution and improve air quality.  Entries are judged by the EPA and the Clean Air Advisory Committee. The EPA’s McCabe formally presented the honor Tuesday at the 2016 Clean Air Excellence Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.