San Pedro Bay Port Corridor to get first-of-its-kind fuel-cell locomotive

DIAMOND BAR—The South Coast Air Quality Management District was awarded about $76 million by the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) for zero-emission projects that will help transform the goods movement sector in the San Pedro Bay Port corridor. More than 80% of air pollution in Southern California is associated with mobile sources, including trucks, trains, planes and ocean-going vessels. As such, transitioning to zero emission technologies is essential to reducing air pollution. The projects developed by this funding will create 7,600 jobs and reduce 1.7 tons of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and 632 tons of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)—a precursor to smog.

“Southern California is home to the two largest ports in the nation which have a profound air quality impact to the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Vanessa Delgado, South Coast AQMD’s Governing Board Chair. “That’s why investments in zero-emission technologies like this are so important. They not only support the goods movement industry but reduce air pollution to better protect overburdened communities.”

South Coast AQMD will use the $76,250,003 in CalSTA’s Port and Freight Infrastructure Program to demonstrate one first-of-its-kind hydrogen fuel cell locomotive that will operate in and around Southern California, install 376 Direct Current Fast Chargers and 19 hydrogen refueling dispensers across seven locations for trucks used for goods movement.

“CalSTA’s ‘Core Four’ priorities are safety, climate action, equity and economic prosperity, and the strategic investments announced today shine in all those areas,” California Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin said during an event today announcing the awards at the Port of Long Beach. “These awards – a direct result of Governor Gavin Newsom’s visionary leadership – will help maintain our state’s competitive edge in our nation-leading supply chain infrastructure and will create a cleaner, safer and more efficient goods movement system that will have a lasting positive impact for the people of California.”

This Project will increase throughput to California ports by demonstrating a locomotive that can haul 50% more freight per locomotive and deploy additional faster charging options for over 2,100 zero- emissions trucks allowing more time to be spent on moving freight instead of recharging.

South Coast AQMD is working with Wabtec Corporation (Wabtec) and Prologis Mobility to deliver the fuel cell train and supporting infrastructure by 2027 and then demonstrated for 12 months.

South Coast AQMD’s 2022 Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP) shows that to achieve federal air quality standards, we need to transition rapidly to zero-emission technologies in the goods movement sector to reduce NOx emissions along with PM2.5. South Coast AQMD is focused on the statewide goal of 100% zero-emissions in the transportation sector as soon as possible in part by facilitating and managing these partnerships between government and business.

The Port and Freight Infrastructure Program seeks to improve the capacity, safety, efficiency and resilience of goods movement to, from and through California’s maritime ports, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, public health impacts and negative economic impacts to the many environmental justice communities adjacent to the corridors and facilities used for goods movement while promoting high-road port, freight and construction sector jobs.

South Coast AQMD is the regulatory agency responsible for improving air quality for large areas of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, including the Coachella Valley.

Source: “South Coast AQMD Awarded $76 Million for a first-of-its-kind Zero-Emission Fuel Cell Train and Infrastructure that will Transform Goods Movement in San Pedro Bay Port Corridor,” SCAQMD, Jul. 6, 2023 press release.

Corresponding, connected home-page-featured image: United States Coast Guard, PA3 Louis Hebert

Last edited on Jul. 26, 2023 at 8:28 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time.