November 1, 2007
Foss switches to ultra low sulfur diesel
Seattle-based Foss Maritime Company announced today that, effective immediately, its vessels are switching to ultra low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSDF) from low sulfur diesel fuel, significantly reducing emissions of particulate matter and other pollutants.
The company's voluntary switch to the cleaner fuel comes nearly five years in advance of an EPA decree for marine engines to use ULSDF by 2012.
Susan Hayman, Vice President of Health, Quality, Safety and Environment for Foss Maritime, said ULSDF is fuel with a maximum of 15 parts per million as opposed to low sulfur diesel with a maximum of 500 parts per million. She says that, initially, "the company's fuel bill is going to be bit higher." But, she notes, "emissions of particulates and other pollutants are going to be a lot lower."
"Foss is stepping up to improve our air quality," said Gary Faber, President and COO of Foss Maritime. "The next time our tugs fill their tanks, it will be with ultra low sulfur diesel fuel, the cleanest diesel fuel on the market. The maritime industry has to do its part."
"In the Pacific Northwest, one of EPA's top priorities is to protect the environmental health of the Puget Sound and the Columbia River basins," said Elin Miller, EPA Region 10 Administrator in Seattle. "We applaud the action that Foss Maritime is taking to reduce diesel pollution at Northwest port operations. Actions like these lower emissions, resulting in cleaner air. We encourage other companies to follow Foss' lead in reducing their impact and ensure environmental and economic health of the region."
Foss says the switch to ultra low sulfur diesel from low sulfur diesel will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by about 9 tons per year in the Seattle/Puget Sound region and 8 tons per year in the Columbia and Snake Rivers area including Portland. Use of ultra low sulfur diesel by Foss will also reduce particulate matter by about 0.7 tons per year for Seattle/Puget Sound and 0.6 tons per year for Columbia Snake River.
Voluntarily switching to ULSDF is the latest in a series of Foss environmental initiative. In March the company gainedattention when it announced the development of the first true hybrid tug. Now under construction in the company's Rainier, Oregon, shipyard the tug is scheduled for launch in late summer 2008.
Except in California where the state already mandates use of ULSDF, most Foss vessels have been fueled by low sulfur diesel. Foss will immediately switch to ULSDF for the remainder of its fleet, except in rare cases of refueling in remote locations where ultra low is not available.
The Foss announcement was welcomed by the Port of Seattle, which is working to meet recommendations outlined in the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy. The document was jointly published by the ports of Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver, B.C., and created in association with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, the Washington Department of Ecology, EPA and Environment Canada. Its purpose is to recommend steps to reduce maritime, port-related emissions that affect air quality and climate change in the Pacific Northwest.
The Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy calls for harbor vessels such as tugs to begin using ULSD or biofuel blends and to test hybrid vehicles by 2010.
"Foss is well ahead of the curve in helping the port achieve early reductions in advance of national regulations so that we can make this a cleaner, healthier environment for Puget Sound area citizens," said Tay Yoshitani, CEO of the Port of Seattle, "We applaud Foss' decision to make this move now. Every day that working vessels are burning cleaner fuel makes a difference."
Foss has a significant presence in Portland as well as the Puget Sound.
"This is very much in concert with the Port of Portland's Air Quality Program--we are using the same kind of fuel in equipment at our container terminal," said Sam Ruda, Director of Marine and Industrial Development for the Port of Portland, "We encourage companies that work in and around our port to practice responsible environmental stewardship, and we support this proactive decision by Foss."