The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is opening up $450 million in funding for initiatives working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and minimize impacts to the climate and surrounding communities from port operations. Areas targeted for projects include coastal seaports, inland waterways, and Great Lakes ports. One way that ports can easily reduce emissions is to switch from diesel- and gasoline-powered equipment to models powered by propane. Propane is an available clean, powerful, dependable energy option that can help environmental and emissions mitigation measures.

“Harmful emissions and poor air quality are often tied to ports and neighboring communities because of the heavy-duty diesel and gasoline powered equipment operating daily,” said Joseph Calhoun, director of off-road business development for the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). “Propane-powered equipment with ultra-low emissions provide immediate steps toward decarbonization and cleaner air for the disadvantaged areas surrounding those ports.”

The funding is part of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to improve America’s infrastructure. This act provides over $9 billion in funding for refueling infrastructure and clean vehicles and equipment. Propane is recognized in the Act as an emerging alternative energy source.

Propane improves air quality at our nation’s ports while reliably supporting global trade logistics. Propane can keep ports running by powering backup generators and prime power for cold ironing, charging, and other large industrial applications. Propane-powered port tractors produce fewer emissions and cost up to $200,000 less than electric models, meaning ports can afford to replace more of their fleet and achieve carbon reduction goals faster. Propane can power other port equipment including forklifts, and soon reach stackers, empty container handlers, and rubber-tired gantry cranes.

Propane refueling infrastructure is affordable, scalable, and readily available for the nation’s alternative fuel corridors. Propane-fueled generators even provide recharging for electric vehicles (EV).

Propane engines and equipment are often the cleanest solution in many areas. In fact, an environmental comparative analysis conducted by PERC, takes a hard look at the lifecycle emissions profiles of propane and electric-powered forklifts, including carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. Findings show, for several states, conventional propane engines are superior to electric forklifts, especially when considering marginal emissions.

“Considering all of propane’s benefits and the fact that funding is now available, why wait?” said Calhoun. “Switching to propane can help port operations across the country be better stewards of the environment today—and well into the future.”