Owner system

Port of San Diego moves forward with clean air ‘hood’ system for idling ships

The Port of San Diego announced Thursday that it will move forward with a system to monitor and capture emissions from cargo ships, also known as a cowl.

The Board of Port Commissioners has approved an agreement with Clean Air Engineering-Maritime to design, build and operate a barge-based emissions control and capture system, also known as the Marine Exhaust Treatment System, to be certified by the California Air Resources Board.

This system will be available for use by freighters that are not yet equipped to connect to shore power by placing a cowl over the ship’s stack to capture and treat exhaust gases while the ship is at berth . CARB requires exhaust gas treatment to be equivalent to shore power.

Shore power allows ships to plug into shore power so they don’t have to run their diesel engines while docked.

“The cowl will provide some of our cargo carriers with a great option to reduce their air quality impacts as they work to transition their vessels to shore power compatibility,” said Dan Malcolm, Chairman of the Port Board.

“This is another example of how we can maintain and grow our maritime business – and protect jobs – while improving air quality and the quality of life for all who live, work and play in and around San Diego Bay.”

The hood system is intended to support the Port’s ‘Health Equity for All’ vision – in particular, the goal of reducing emissions from ocean-going vessels. Additionally, CARB regulations require auto carrier vessels to reduce their emissions while docked in California seaports beginning in 2025 using either shore power or cowl technology. The National City Marine Terminal mainly handles automobile imports.

“The Port of San Diego is actively pursuing all available mitigation measures to ensure the best air quality of any port community,” said Nick Tonsich, president of Clean Air Engineering-Maritime. “We are proud to work with the port and bring our years of experience to this public-private partnership.”

According to port documents, the total cost of the project is estimated at about $11.5 million, with the port directing $4.9 million in grants received from the California Transportation Commission. Clean Air Engineering-Maritime covers the rest. The system is expected to be operational by January 1, 2025.