The California ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach want to go beyond existing regulatory requirements with technologies to reduce diesel emissions from harbor craft. A request for proposals is offering $500,000 for technology demonstrations that can upgrade existing engines to EPA Tier 3 or Tier 4 standards.

Tugs, crewboats, barges and other harbor craft are the second-largest source of diesel particulate matter air pollution in San Pedro Bay, comprising 18% of the emissions, and 10% of nitrogen oxide and 6% of greenhouse gas emissions, port officials say. Most boats now meet Tier 2 emission level standards.

“We are looking at ways to reduce emissions from harbor craft beyond existing regulatory requirements,” said Heather Tomley, director of environmental planning for the Port of Long Beach. “We need more viable cost effective technologies, and as the Green Port, we’re going to leverage all of our tools to lead the goods movement industry to a more sustainable future.”

The request by the ports under the Technology Advancement Program offers $500,000 ($250,000 from each port) for one or two demonstrations of technologies that will upgrade engines to Tier 3 or Tier 4 standards — making engines up to 70% cleaner. Proposals are due by Sept. 21.

Reducing emissions from harbor craft is a key strategy in the recently released draft Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) update, developed with input during more than 50 public meetings. The harbor commissions of both ports are expected to meet in November to consider the final draft.

The CAAP, adopted in 2006, aims to reduce health risks posed by port-related air pollution from ships, locomotives, trucks, terminal equipment and harbor craft. Compared to 2005 levels, the CAAP has helped reduce diesel particulate matter up to 85%, cut nitrogen oxides in half, eliminated 97% of sulfur oxides, and shrunk greenhouse gases an average of 12%.