PORT EQUIPMENT & TECH REVIEW -TSI & biodiesel: How sweet it is

By: | at 08:00 PM | Channel(s): Ports & Terminals  

By Leo Quigley, AJOTWhen Terminal Systems Inc. (TSI) first started using biodiesel in their equipment it made environmental sense. Today, with diesel prices skyrocketing, it’s also making economic sense.
The company manages Deltaport and Vanterm container terminals at the Port of Vancouver and operates about 230 diesel engines at the two terminals. The company is also a long-time supporter of reducing emissions produced by diesel engines.
At first, the emission reduction initiative was sparked by a need to control soot in an area where pulp and paper shipments were being handled. But today, TSI - a wholly owned subsidiary of Orient Overseas International Ltd. - is working to reduce emissions simply to make the air cleaner for people living around them.
“We’ve always been a green company,” said Darcy Vaillant, maintenance manager for both Deltaport and Vanterm. “And, I’ve been looking at alternative fuels for about four years now.
“We’re burning about five million liters a year (of biodiesel) between the two terminals and we’re probably going to be increasing that to about six million this year.
“It was going to cost us to do this originally. The cost, compared to diesel fuel, was 20 cents more (per liter). Now, the fuel price has come up so high that the price of biodiesel is a little cheaper.”
Vaillant said money has never been an issue when it comes to reducing terminal emissions at TSI. “It’s the environment and what we put into the environment.
“All our engines are EPA approved and rated and we’ve always been within the specifications for all our diesel.
“We just wanted to go that extra mile,” he said. “There’s lots of things we can do here. One was using biodiesel and one was putting scrubbers on all our equipment, which cost us a lot of money, probably up to C$1 million.”
Vaillant said the results achieved by using biodiesel in equipment have been “impressive.” When the company moved to a B20 mix (20% bio), with exhaust scrubbers installed on large equipment such as cranes, it was able to reduce emissions by 30%.
Now Vaillant is planning to move to B30 by year-end and expects annual exhaust emissions will be cut 40%.
TSI buys its biodiesel from two sources. One provides a vegetable-based product and the other an animal-based product.
While Vaillant said both products perform well, he is concerned about the performance of the animal-based product during the winter. Although Vancouver does not have many sub-zero days, as with any animal fat the product will congeal when it gets cold and could clog fuel filters, he said.
“Real simple way of reducing emissions”Deltaport, which uses a product made from soybeans, purchases its supplies from Vancouver-based Canadian Bioenergy Corp while Vanterm, which uses an animal fat product, purchases its supplies from West Coast Biodiesel, a Vancouver-based division of West Coast Reduction.
While farmers in Western Canada produce the world’s best Canola and, in fact, genetically developed the Canola plant from common rapeseed, neither Vanterm nor Deltaport uses a Canadian Canola-based product.
Valliant said one of the reasons for this is the fact that the US Government offers financial support to the biodiesel industry south of the border.
Asked if he would support a move by Ottawa to financially encourage the use of Canola as biodiesel Vaillant answered, “Definitely.
“For farmers, here’s a great way to go,” he said. “I mean you can run this stuff 100%. There’s tugboats running on 100% bio in the US - no diesel fuel at all. We’re maxing out right now for suppliers,” Vaillant said, “People have to get on board, and Canada’s the place to be doing it.”
Vaillant’s advice to other ports thinking of getting into biodiesel is, “It’s a real simple way of reducing your emissions. There’s really nothing you have to do to your equipment. You can start at a B10 mix right off the get go.
“I started off with B5 and ramped up toB40 in testing to see what would happen and I didn’t have any pr

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American Journal of Transportation