March 1, 2007
Foss Maritime to build hybrid tug
Foss Maritime Company announced that it plans to build the world's first true hybrid tug boat, a "green" vessel that will significantly reduce nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide and carbon emissions. It will also consume less fuel and be quieter than its conventional predecessors.
Officials of the Seattle-based marine services company, say the project must still gain final board approval. But the decision to move forward with the hybrid tug got a boost earlier this week as the Port of Los Angeles pledged $850,000 to the project, in association with the South Coast Air Quality Management District, and the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners preliminarily approved a $500,000 contribution to the vessel's construction.
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have expressed interest in funding the tug as part of their San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan.
In exchange for funding, Foss would agree to homeport the new hybrid tug in Southern California for five years.
The Foss hybrid tug is scheduled to go into production later this year and will be delivered to Foss' Southern California operations in 2008.
It is a new-build project, a continuation of the Dolphin-class tug boat series built at Foss' Rainier, Oregon shipyard.
The Foss hybrid tug will look almost identical to its sister Dolphin-class tug boats, but will be quieter, cleaner and more fuel efficient, using proven hybrid technology.
The hybrid tug's drive units will be powered by batteries coupled with diesel generators and feature a modified engine room accommodating two 670 horsepower battery packs and two 335 horsepower generators. Although the main engines in the hybrid tug will have lower horsepower than the existing Dolphin engines, overall the tug will have the same total horsepower as its sister tugs.
The 5,000 horsepower Foss hybrid tug will be primarily used for harbor assist services.
"This is exactly what the Clean Air Action Plan was intended to do--challenge companies operating in the ports to come up with better, cleaner ways of doing business. And Foss has come up with a great plan that benefits all of us," said Geraldine Knatz Ph.D. executive director of the Port of Los Angeles.
There are many environmental and health-related benefits to building a hybrid tug, including:
The hybrid tug will be introduced in the Los Angeles/Long Beach market, as hybrid tug technology is best suited for harbor tugs that need high amounts of power for short periods of time.
While performing tug assist jobs in this Californian harbor, tug boats spend little time at peak RPM, rarely utilizing each tug's full horsepower. Tugs in Los Angeles/Long Beach spend up to 50 percent of their time idling, with the main engines on and ready to respond, but with no power actually being used for propulsion.
With Foss' hybrid tug, energy is produced only on demand, so that idling of the main engines will no longer be necessary.
The hybrid tug design will make it adaptable for retrofit of existing harbor tugs. The flexible design of the tug also has the ability to take advantage of emerging technologies such as improved battery and fuel advances. The tug could also take advantage of cleaner, less expensive shore power to charge the batteries.
"Foss is proud to be working with the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles on such an important project as the hybrid tug," said Gary C. Faber, president and COO of Foss. "This is just the latest example of how Foss sits at the leading edge of maritime technology, engineering and shipbuilding. As a company, we're committed to maintaining our natural environment. Foss anticipates there will be a growing market for our 'green' tugs in the years to come."