With the introduction of five new hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and the grand opening of two hydrogen fueling stations, the Port of Los Angeles and its partners are ushering in a new age of pollution-free freight transit.

Over a dozen public and private sector partners have collaborated on the $82.5 million Shore-to-Store (S2S) project to conduct a 12-month demonstration of the zero-emissions Class 8 trucks and will expand the project to include five additional hydrogen-fueled heavy-duty trucks, two battery-electric yard tractors, and two battery-electric forklifts.

The multiyear demonstration is intended to promote the Port’s Clean Air Action Plan goals and to assist California in meeting statewide climate change, air quality, and sustainability targets for greenhouse gas and hazardous air pollution reductions. The initiative aims to determine the operational and technological feasibility of the vehicles in a heavy-duty environment, as well as to improve the region’s hydrogen infrastructure.

“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 commercializing 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 innovative Shore-to-Store program is helping pave the way toward commercialization of fuel cell electric technology in the transportation sector,” said Bob Carter, Executive Vice President, Sales, Toyota Motor North America. “By utilizing this technology, port operators like our own Toyota Logistics Services (TLS) can utilize 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.” 

“This significant fuel cell electric vehicle program at the Port of Los Angeles is a key element of Kenworth’s industry-leading efforts of ‘Driving to Zero Emissions’ in the U.S. and Canada,” said Kevin Baney, Kenworth General Manager and PACCAR Vice President. “We’ve built all 10 of the Kenworth T680 FCEVs involved in the project, and the first five vehicles are now delivered to fleets in California for commercial service at the Port of Los Angeles.” 

“Shell 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,” said Paul Bogers, Vice President of Hydrogen for Shell. “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. 

“Our hydrogen refueling stations in Ontario and Wilmington play a growing role in reducing truck emissions in these highly populated areas,” Bogers added. “We are grateful to our consortium partners, the California Energy Commission and the California Air Resources Board for their visionary support of the hydrogen economy.”

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is funding the project with a $41.1 million matching grant. The remaining $41.4 million in financial and in-kind support comes from project partners.

“For generations, neighborhoods located next to high volume traffic corridors have experienced disproportionately high rates of air pollution and pollution-related illness, particularly in the greater Los Angeles region,” said CARB Deputy Executive Officer Craig Segall. “We are working steadily to change this trajectory by helping to fund, support and promote comprehensive efforts like the Port of L.A.’s Shore-to-Store Project that will run cleaner and quieter trucks that will substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower smog-forming emissions as well. It’s a sizable investment in a project with the potential to radically transform how we move freight in one of the most populous regions in the U.S.”

Air Liquide, a leader in gas and technology, is also a fuel supplier. The Port of Hueneme will collaborate on drayage runs and operate as a testing ground for zero-emission yard tractors. The South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) will serve as a project advisor; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory will collect and evaluate project data; and the Coalition for a Safe Environment will represent the community.

Numerous communities that are home to ports and associated trucking and warehousing industries are low-income regions that are disproportionately impacted by air pollution caused by ships, rail, trucking, and off-road cargo handling equipment.

The vehicles’ duty cycles will include local collection and delivery, as well as drayage in close proximity to the Port, as well as short regional haul applications throughout the Inland Empire. The partners will investigate the technological feasibility of hydrogen-fueled tractors and battery-electric cargo handling equipment that can withstand the rigors of Southern California’s market. Simultaneously, they will monitor the reduction of nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, greenhouse gas, and other pollutants.

The Port of Los Angeles S2S Project is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that invests billions of dollars in Cap-and-Trade funds to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen the economy, and improve public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities.

The experiment will proceed with the assistance of a $41.1 million grant from the California Air Resources Board’s Zero- and Near-Zero Emissions Freight Facilities (ZANZEFF) program. Toyota Motor North America, Kenworth, Shell, TLS, UPS, TTSI, SCE, AQMD, and the Port of Hueneme all contribute $41.4 million in cash and/or in-kind contributions. S2S planning began in 2018. The project is one of sixteen undertaking at the Port to expedite the adoption of near-zero and zero-emission alternatives for container transportation.

Nedim Husomanovic

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