Barcelona launches ambitious environmental strategy

Barcelona launches ambitious environmental strategy
Barcelona plans to convert straddle carriers from diesel to LNG

The Port of Barcelona, Spain, has launched a new initiative aimed at improving air quality through 25 actions including promoting liquefied natural gas (LNG) as an alternative fuel and offering discounts to cleaner ships.

The Air Quality Improvement Plan includes projects to support the use of LNG to power ships, terminal machinery and trucks and provide the port with new infrastructure aimed at facilitating LNG fuelling for vessels.

The port is set to run tests to convert two straddle carriers used in the container facilities from diesel to LNG in order to analyse their performance, efficiency and emission levels.

According to the port, the pilot project will be carried out at Hutchison’s Barcelona Europe South Terminal (BEST) and at APM Terminals (APMT)’s facilities (formerly TCB), with the straddle carrier fleets at both terminals to be gradually replaced if the results are satisfactory.

Other projects include the installation of a flexible cryogenic loading arm at the Enagás terminal to supply LNG to a barge and small boats as well as the adaptation of a barge to supply LNG to larger vessels.

“LNG use cuts NOx [mono-nitrogen oxides] emissions by 80% and stops particulate and sulphur oxide emissions. In addition, new legislation on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is increasingly restrictive and the maritime industry is turning to LNG as a fuel for powering an increasing number of vessels that will enter into service in the coming years,” a statement by the port read.

“Both initiatives are under way and receive EU funding, since they are part of the CORE LNGas hive project run by the European Union.”

As part of the environmental initiative, the port will ask the Spanish government to amend the Ports Law to implement environmental discounts of up to 40% of vessels’ ships, a significant increase from the maximum discount of 5% currently allowed.

José Alberto Carbonell, general manager of the port, said: “The discount applied to port fees is a very important tool, since it is a fundamental instrument for bringing about change in the vessels.”

As he added, the proposed change to the current regulations would allow the port to provide environmental discounts at the same level offered by North-European ports such as Rotterdam, Hamburg, Antwerp.

Additional projects to be implemented as part of the port’s environmental plan include gradually replacing the port’s entire fleet of vehicles with electrical units, with the port aiming to have a 100% electric fleet by 2020.

The port is also planning to introduce electrical connection infrastructure to the parking areas, car parks and public spaces of its precinct.