Long Beach to test 'sock on a stack' technology

Pollution control device is said to have shown 'promising results' in early demonstrations.

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Updated on 19 Jun 2009 08:14 GMT

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners have given preliminary approval to fund a long-term test of an innovative “sock on a stack” air quality improvement system for ships that is said to have shown promising results in previous demonstrations.

Developed by Rancho Dominguez-based Advanced Cleanup Technologies Inc., the system uses a crane to place a large bonnet-like device over a ship’s smokestack. The exhaust from the ship’s diesel engines is then captured and scrubbed of harmful air pollutants before being released back into the atmosphere.

In tests conducted during the summer of 2008 at the port, the Advanced Maritime Emissions Control System, or AMECS, captured about 95 percent of nitrous oxide, sulfur oxide and particulate matter – the major pollutants in a ship’s emissions.

Although the Port is currently working to equip its shipping terminals with shore power, which allows ships to shut down their diesel engines and plug into cleaner electricity, AMECS could be used to cut pollution at berths that are not outfitted with shore power.

“This is a promising system to cut air pollution from ships,” said Port Executive Director Richard D. Steinke.

“By funding a more definitive test of this cutting edge technology, the port is again showing its commitment to minimize the impact of its operations on our community.”

This week the port has preliminarily approved as much as $2.39 million to test the long-term feasibility of AMECS. The test is being conducted to assess costs, durability and other operational issues associated with the system.

A final vote is expected later this month. The testing, which could take up to a year, would be conducted at the port’s bulk cargo terminal, Berth G214. Metro Ports, the operator of the bulk terminal, is a proponent of the technology and would share a portion of the costs of testing the system. However, most of the expenses is expected to be paid by the port.