The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration recently announced new funding for liquified natural gas (LNG)-related projects

On Monday, Marad announced that it has provided $730,000 to Pittsburgh Region Clean Cities to convert a towboat engine from diesel to LNG as part of a larger effort to help expand the development and availability of natural gas conversion technology for smaller scale tug, tow, and harbor vessels.

Last week, Marad announced a $900,000 cooperative agreement with TOTE Maritime to further develop knowledge regarding the costs and benefits of vessel conversions to LNG propulsion. TOTE is converting the 839’x118’ trailership Midnight Sun to dual fuel LNG, and will work with Marad to obtain pre and post-conversion air emissions data, and operational information to assess the potential of LNG conversions. The study is expected to be completed by 2018.

Monday’s announcement also included news of a separate cooperative agreement, unrelated to LNG, by which Marad will provide Interlake Steamship Company (Interlake) of Ohio $500,000 to retrofit the Lee Tregurtha, which operates on the Great Lakes, with exhaust gas-scrubber technology to reduce sulfur emissions. Interlake will provide MARAD with pre- and post-installation air emissions data, and lessons learned on scrubber installation and operation.

“These investments accelerate the growth of alternative fuel and environmental technologies throughout the United States’ maritime industry. These projects will yield data that will support future commercial investment decisions and will provide lasting benefits for our nation while helping us reduce the industry’s environmental footprint,” Maritime Administrator Paul ‘Chip’ Jaenichen. “This is how government can work to encourage technology advancement and environmental stewardship.”