PACIFIC NORTHWEST PORTS - Port of Tacoma’s Husky Terminal makes switch to biodiesel fuel

By: | at 07:00 PM | Channel(s): Ports & Terminals  

Husky Terminal & Stevedoring, a major Port of Tacoma terminal operator, recently began using biodiesel fuel for all diesel-operated vehicles and container handling equipment.According to Husky Assistant Vice President Steve Bassett, his company has always embraced opportunities to make a positive difference for the community.
“While the cargo activity at our terminal brings great economic benefits to this region, we also want to reduce the negative impacts of our activity as much as possible,” said Bassett, whose terminal has served Japan-based “K” Line in Tacoma since 1988. “One of the ways we found we could achieve this was making the voluntary switch to biodiesel.”
Cindy Lin, the Port’s Manager of Environmental Compliance, works with Port customers to manage the switch to lower emission fuels. Husky’s switch to the cleaner-burning, vegetable based biodiesel, says Lin, is reducing the emissions of sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. By blending biodiesel and ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD), a terminal operator can reduce sulfur oxides by as much as 99%, compared to standard diesel fuel.
“Biodiesel performs like petroleum diesel, but it produces significantly less air pollution,” she said, noting that each of Husky’s 31 yard tractors and all cargo handling equipment is now running on a biodiesel/low sulfur diesel blend. “Biodiesel is produced from a biodegradable, renewable resource, and it is safer for our environment.”
Prior to making its voluntary switch to biodiesel, Husky used approximately 11,200 gallons of low-sulfur diesel fuel per month. According to Bassett, Husky will begin using a 20% blend of biodiesel with low-sulfur diesel and plans to increase that blend to 40% biodiesel by this summer.
The benefits of moving to biodiesel, says Bassett, are apparent: According to a recent study by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the reduction of diesel particulate matter (PM) emissions can make a positive impact on public health.
“We applaud Husky and the Port of Tacoma for taking this significant step to advance the use of biofuels and reduce emissions from port operations,” said Dennis McLerran, Executive Director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. “This kind of leadership demonstrates to others the viability of making the switch to clean, alternative fuels.”
Port Commissioner R. Ted Bottiger also commented on Husky’s leadership. “Our community benefits greatly from the jobs and economic development generated by maritime commerce at the Port of Tacoma. I congratulate Husky for making this voluntary decision because we all deserve to breathe clean air.”
Husky’s decision to use biodiesel is the latest in a number of initiatives by the Port of Tacoma and its customers to make immediate, tangible reductions in diesel fuel emissions. These initiatives include:
• The Port of Tacoma in 2005 purchased and installed EPA-verified diesel oxidation catalysts on 30 straddle carriers. The Port also began using ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) in Port-operated equipment. In combination with the catalysts, total PM emissions were reduced up to 50% per vehicle.
• The Port initiated an automobile purchase policy to replace retiring Port-owned vehicles with new gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles. These hybrid vehicles travel approximately 50 miles per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline.
• The Port Maintenance Department staff is conducting a biodiesel pilot test project to determine operating efficiency on straddle carriers and other Port-operated equipment.
• The Evergreen Group, the leaseholder at Pierce County Terminal, was the first Port customer to mandate the use of ULSD. Today, four of the Port of Tacoma’s six container terminals use ULSD.
• Brownfield conversion projects have significantly reduced the air quality impact from industrial sources. The closure of the Kaiser Aluminum Smelter and subsequent purchase by the Port of Tacoma eliminated 149 tons of particulate matter emissions, 121 tons of sulfur oxide emissions and

American Journal of Transportation