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TECHNOLOGY

Hybrid tugboat may give local ports a green push

L.A.-Long Beach complex is investing in cleaner-air efforts

November 13, 2008|Ronald D. White | White is a Times staff writer.

Foss has been in the tugboat business since 1889. But Heather Tomley, senior environmental specialist at the Port of Long Beach, said companies don't have to have a maritime background to gain the ports' attention.

One such landlubber is Advanced Cleanup Technologies Inc. The 16-year-old Rancho Dominguez company is branching out from its main work of mopping up hazardous spills to cleaning up the air.

Advanced Cleanup has used components from three other companies to develop a bonnet that can be lowered on top of a ship's smokestack, sending the exhaust through a cleaning system, Tomley said. Such a device would be useful when a vessel is docked and has to keep its diesel engines running to power its systems, she said.

The bonnet, Tomley said, "seemed to work very well," with initial tests showing emission reductions of more than 95%.

Another California company cited by Tomley, Yorba Linda-based Vycon Inc., has developed a flywheel technology that attaches to yard cranes. The flywheel system collects energy as cargo containers are lowered and then releases it, helping lift containers. That reduces the power the diesel engine has to supply, cutting fuel consumption and the release of pollutants.

Tomley said Vycon achieved more than a 25% reduction in particulate emissions in California Air Resources Board testing.

Vycon has been watching sales of the $150,000 devices grow. "This year we have sold 38 machines," said Louis Romo, vice president of sales. "We sold five during all of 2007, so that is a nice jump for us."

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ron.white@latimes.com

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