Port of Oakland keeps the emissions reductions coming

More good news on air quality matters. The San Francisco Bay Area Port of Oakland in California is on a roll, so to speak, in its work to reduce emissions from port-based activities.

Due to the nature of port-related operations, the air at seaports can be and is at times negatively affected. But, as reported in: “‘Dramatic reductions’ in emissions found at Port of Oakland,” a Dec. 12, 2014 Port press release, “Researchers say they’ve measured ‘dramatic reductions’ in diesel emissions at the Port of Oakland. The result, according to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, should be cleaner air.

Diesel-smoke[1]“‘At the Port of Oakland we measured reductions of nitrogen oxides and black carbon PM (particulate matter) which should translate into local improvements in air quality,’ said Berkeley Lab air quality scientist Dr. Thomas Kirchstetter in a Laboratory announcement released this week.” Dr. Kirchstetter is also an adjunct professor in the University of California at Berkeley’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

This is but one more positive sign that air in and around ports all around the U.S. and globe is improving.

So what’s behind the Port of Oakland air quality improvement?

“The Berkeley Lab findings show that a clean truck program initiated at the Port of Oakland in 2009 is paying off,” conveyed the Port in the release. “Known as the Comprehensive Truck Management Program, it requires harbor truckers to comply with state air quality regulations. It also bans rigs that don’t meet 2007 US Environmental Protection Agency engine emission standards. The Port took part in a $22 million grant program to help drivers make their trucks compliant.”

What both the UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory investigating research team found, a team which also included the likes of UC Berkeley civil and environmental engineering professor Rob Harley and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s Phil Martien, was: 1) median age of port-serving truck engines, since 2009, dropped from 11 to six years; and 2) the installation of filters to trap particulates in percentage terms jumped from single to almost triple digits – from 2 to 99 percent, in other words, according to the Port. Important are the findings from the standpoint that the trucks make thousands of visits to and from the port yearly.

Specifically, according to the Port in the release, from port diesel truck operations the median rate of emissions for black carbon decreased by more than three-fourths (76 percent) while from the same, the average rate of nitrogen oxide emissions fell by over half (53 percent).

In diesel particulate matter, meanwhile, black carbon has been found to be a key component.

For more about Dr. Kirchstetter’s work, see: “Reducing black carbon, carbon dioxide, particle pollution in California air.”

For more on black carbon’s climate-change connection, see: “Black carbon and climate change: Research suggests link.”

For more background information on black carbon itself, see: “Diesel consumption rises, black carbon concentrations drop in California.”

1 thought on “Port of Oakland keeps the emissions reductions coming

  1. It is because the port of Oakland labor disputes is causing more truckers to turn in their trucks since they cannot make any money which means less trucks = less pollution. Did Berkeley do research on the average trucks that would go in and out of the port from 2009 to now? Something they might want to look at.

Leave a Comment