Hybrid electric cranes deliver major emissions savings at Port of Oakland

Hybrid electric cranes deliver major emissions savings at Port of Oakland
13 cranes were retrofitted with hybrid technology

A project to retrofit 13 yard cranes with hybrid electric engines at the Port of Oakland’s largest container terminal has cut diesel emissions by 95%.

Terminal operator SSA Marine has claimed that the project will eliminate about 1,200 metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually from each crane.

Ken Larson, crane manager at SSA Marine’s Oakland International Container Terminal (OICT), said: “Retrofitting our rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes to battery power produced remarkable results.

“We’re impressed with the huge drop in emissions from equipment that we regularly use on the marine terminal.”

Combined, the 13 90-ft tall cranes can lift as many as 1,000 containers a day on and off trucks at OICT.

The project is part of the Port of Oakland’s Seaport Air Quality 2020 and Beyond plan and, according to SSA, will result in a 93% reduction in diesel fuel.

The older engines used 10 to 13 gallons of diesel fuel an hour whereas the hybrid machines use about three-quarters of a gallon an hour, Larson noted.

He added: “We were honestly surprised to learn how little diesel fuel we need to use now.”

The hybrid retrofit was the first of its kind at SSA terminals and saw the operator replace 1,000-horsepower diesel generators on its yard cranes with 142-horsepower diesel hybrids.

The new power plants have small diesel engines that are used only to charge a crane’s pack of batteries and each crane has a housing unit that contains the hybrid generator.

Construction of new electrical systems was required for input power protection when converting current from AC to DC on a crane.

The hybrid generators capture energy as a container is lowered and, besides saving fuel and reducing emissions, the hybrid performs better than the older diesel generators as there is no delay in power delivery to the crane.

Richard Sinkoff, director of environmental programmes and planning at the Port of Oakland, said: “We’re delighted with this project because it reflects the way the port advances its emission reduction goals by focusing on feasible technologies that can perform the heavy work of moving containers.”

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District) awarded SSA US$5m in grant funding as part of its Community Health Protection programme (CHP-AB134) to replace 13 diesel-powered RTG engines with Tier 4 Final hybrid engines.

Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District, said: “We are pleased that an Air District grant has enabled the completion of the SSA hybrid crane project that will significantly reduce harmful emissions for many years to come.

“The hybrid engine technology installed on these large yard cranes will help improve air quality and protect the health of those in the communities surrounding the Port of Oakland.”