Environment: Long Beach

Long Beach: State Agency OKs New Pollution-Scrubbing Technology

The California Air Resources Board has approved a new technology that uses specialized barges which connect to the exhaust ports of container ships to scrub pollution.

In 2013, the Port of Long Beach provided about $2 million in seed money to help test the Advanced Maritime Emissions Control System (AMECS). State approval means the company that developed the technology can now market AMECS to vessel operators as an alternative to container ships plugging into the electrical grid while at berth.

Container and cruise ships must significantly reduce at-berth emissions to meet state regulations, but the existing "shore power" option requires retrofits to each vessel. According to the company, the AMECS barge system can meet the state standards by removing 90 to 99 percent of harmful emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter without requiring vessel retrofits.

"We’re building the Port of the Future here in Long Beach," said Port of Long Beach Chief Executive Officer Jon Slangerup. "Moving cargo efficiently is important to that mission, as is doing our work cleanly. We’re happy to have this technology as an option as we fulfill our mission responsibly and innovatively."

The California Air Resources Board’s approval of AMECS on container ships will allow the company to begin the process of testing the system on other vessel types.