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Solar Ship Docks at Port of Long Beach

Auriga Leader, a car carrier for Toyota, is first of its kind

July 1, 2009

The Port of Long Beach on July 1 welcomed the Auriga Leader, a car carrier ship partly powered by solar energy. It is a first-of-a-kind green technology application on a car carrier. 

The Auriga Leader is outfitted with 328 solar panels that can generate up to 40 kilowatts, decreasing demand on the ship's diesel-powered auxiliary engines for electricity thus cutting down pollution. 

The Port is working on several fronts to decrease pollution from ships, including the EPA-award winning Green Flag Program, encouraging the use of cleaner-burning low sulfur fuels, and outfitting container terminals with shore side plug-in power. 

The Auriga Leader's photovoltaic panels are part of a technology demonstration project by Toyota Motor Corporation, a customer of the Port of Long Beach, and NYK Line, the ship's owner and operator. The 656-foot, 60,000-ton vessel can carry up to 6,200 cars and is used to transport Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles from Toyota Motor Corporation factories in Japan to the Port of Long Beach. The solar panels made their debut at Kobe port in Japan last December. Wednesday was the Auriga Leader's first call at the Port of Long Beach. 

"The Auriga Leader is a perfect example of how the maritime industry is voluntarily finding new and innovative ways to be responsible stewards of the environment," said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Richard D. Steinke. "Our Port is a regional economic engine and in order to stay competitive, we must ensure that our growth is sustainable. That means minimizing the impact of shipping operations on the environment."

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