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Ports & Marine

Vehicles and vessels activities at coastal and inland ports across the United States rely predominately on diesel-fueled, heavy-duty vehicles. These activities emit large amounts of greenhouse gases (GHGs), criteria pollutants, and toxic air contaminants, all of which significantly impact nearby, often historically disenfranchised communities.

a very large container ship is at a dock being loaded by a crane with cargo.
gold icon fork lift

Port and marine applications present unique obstacles to decarbonization. Operational and technical challenges shape the approach for electrifying vehicles such as container handlers, rubber-tired gantry cranes, drayage trucks, forklifts, cargo ships, and yard tractors

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CTE believes that demonstration projects, and funding for them, serve to bridge what’s commonly referred to as “the valley of death” for new port and marine technologies.  Because these markets' technology readiness levels (TRLs) are behind other sectors, demonstration programs prove these these emerging technologies in real-world applications, taking them from labs into the market.

Ports & Marine Project Spotlight

Fuel Cell Electric Top Loader

A grant awarded to the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in 2018 has supported the development of a first-of-its kind fuel cell electric top loader — a breakthrough zero-emission solution for port operations.  This innovation offers rapid refueling with hydrogen, taking only 15 minutes to provide 8-10 hours of continuous operation, completely emission-free. The Hyster® top-pick container handler runs on two Nuvera E-45 fuel cell engines and is being demonstrated by Fenix Marine Services at the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) in Long Beach, California. Wireless charging for the top loader is provided by WAVE, and mobile hydrogen fueling provided by Air Products. CTE's leadership and a collaborative effort make this technology a potential industry game-changer, aligning with California's ambitious air quality and climate goals.

Beyond the immediate environmental impact, with estimated annual savings of 127 tons of CO2 and 0.357 tons of Criteria Pollution, this project underscores the societal benefits of transitioning to zero-emission equipment. CTE, serving as the project lead, emphasizes the importance of demonstration projects in navigating the challenging transition from early-stage technologies to market-ready solutions. Recognizing the invaluable lessons learned in terms of technology refinement and soft skills associated with market adoption, CTE advocates for public support to drive further advancements, address challenges, and optimize resources for the greater good.

logo collage: CARB, Hyster, Nuvera, and the port of LA
electric top loader being charged by large batteries large top loader machine lifting metal storage container at port
T T S I logo with a green globe

“CTE has been a trusted partner for TTSI since 2016 as we seek to deploy zero-emission truck solutions in our commercial logistics operations.  With the assistance of CTE’s highly organized and coordinated grant writers, they have submitted winning proposals. CTE’s technical project managers helped us analyze our vehicle and infrastructure options as we were successful is deploying the first hydrogen cell vehicles in the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.”

Total Transportation Services

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CTE is here to help successfully plan, deploy, and monitor your fleet. We want to hear from you!

overview drone view of a busy port with large ship and shipping containers