The Port of Los Angeles and its partners are launching a new era of pollution-free goods movement with the debut of five hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) and are also opening two hydrogen fuelling stations.
Part of a large-scale, multi-year demonstration, the project is designed to advance the Port’s Clean Air Action Plan goals and help California achieve statewide climate change, air quality improvement and sustainability targets.
Under the $82.5m Shore-to-Store (S2S) project, more than a dozen public and private sector partners have teamed up for a 12-month demonstration of the zero-emissions Class 8 trucks and will expand the project to include five more hydrogen-fuelled heavy-duty trucks, two battery-electric yard tractors, and two battery-electric forklifts.
The project is designed to assess the operational and technical feasibility of the vehicles in a heavy-duty setting, as well as to expand infrastructure to support hydrogen throughout the region.
“Transporting goods between our port and the Inland Empire is the first leg of this next journey toward a zero-emissions future,” said Port of Los Angeles executive director Gene Seroka. “This project is a model for developing and commercialising the next generation of clean trucks and cargo-handling equipment for the region and beyond.
“Just as the air we breathe extends beyond the Port’s footprint, so should the clean air and economic benefits we believe this project will yield.”
The port’s technology development partners are Toyota Motor North America, which designed and built the powertrain’s fuel cell electric power supply system; Kenworth Truck Company, which designed and built the Class 8 trucks with Toyota’s fuel cell electric system; and Shell Oil Products US (Shell), which designed, built and will operate the project’s two new high-capacity hydrogen fuelling stations in Wilmington and Ontario.
“The innovative Shore-to-Store programme is helping pave the way toward commercialisation of fuel cell electric technology in the transportation sector,” said Bob Carter, executive vice president, sales, Toyota Motor North America.
“By utilising this technology, port operators like our own Toyota Logistics Services (TLS) can utilise a zero-emissions and scalable solution for CO2 reductions, which will contribute to cleaner air at the port and the surrounding communities where TLS operates. This is an important milestone in Toyota’s drive toward carbon neutrality.”
Shell said it believes hydrogen offers a promising solution to achieving net-zero emissions both in terms of immediate improvements of local air quality as well as meeting long-term climate goals especially for heavy-duty vehicles and for long-distance travel.
“That’s why we are working with truck manufacturers, fleets, governments and others to coordinate hydrogen infrastructure investments in high-traffic freight areas like the Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach, the Los Angeles basin and the Inland Empire,” said Paul Bogers, vice president of hydrogen for Shell.
Financing the project
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is supporting the project with a matching grant of $41.1m. Project partners are contributing the remaining $41.4m in financial- and in-kind support.
Other public sector partners are the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD), serving as a project advisor; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which will collect and analyse project data; and the Coalition for a Safe Environment, representing the community.
Many communities that are home to ports and related trucking and warehouse operations are low-income areas disproportionately impacted by air pollution from vessels, rail, trucking and off-road cargo handling equipment.
The vehicles’ duty cycles will consist of local pick-up and delivery and drayage near the port and short regional haul applications in the Inland Empire. Partners will study the technical feasibility of hydrogen-fuelled tractors and battery-electric cargo handling equipment operating under the rigorous demands of the Southern California market. At the same time, they will measure the reduction of nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as other pollutants.
The Port of Los Angeles S2S project is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment, particularly in disadvantaged communities.
Planning for S2S began in 2018. The project is one of 16 demonstrations underway at the port to accelerate near-zero and zero-emissions solutions for moving cargo.
North America’s leading seaport by container volume and cargo value, the Port of Los Angeles reports it facilitated $259bn in trade during 2020.