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Board Approves Funding for Hybrid Tugboat

Environmentally Friendly Tug the First of Its Kind

March 5, 2007

The Port will contribute $500,000 toward the development of an environmentally friendly hybrid tugboat, the first of its kind in the world, the Board of Harbor Commissioners voted on Monday, March 5.

The $8-million hybrid craft will be built by Foss Maritime, a Seattle-based company that provides tug services for ships entering and exiting Long Beach harbor. 

The funding will come from Technology Advancement Program money set aside under the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan. The program is designed to help fund demonstration projects which, if successful, could be expanded to wider use in port operations. 

“This is exactly the kind of innovation we are looking to help fund with our technology program,” said Harbor Commission President James C. Hankla. “We’re encouraging the industry to bring us new ideas, and that’s just what Foss has done with the hybrid tugboat demonstration project.”

A hybrid tugboat is expected to cost about $3 million more than a traditional diesel tugboat. The Port of Los Angeles will also contribute funds to the project. With the port funding, Foss is expected to begin building the hybrid tug this year and begin using it in port operations by 2008. 

The hybrid system is expected to deliver pollution reduction of at least 44 percent versus conventional tugboats, as well as reduction in fuel consumption of as much as 30 percent. The hybrid engine would operate similar to that of Toyota hybrid Prius automobile, and shut down its diesel engine and switch to an electric motor during idling for significant pollution reduction.

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