The U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD) recently opened applications for the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP). More than $6.6 million in grant funding is available for projects that include environmental and emissions mitigation measures and terminal equipment upgrades.
Heavy-duty diesel equipment in ports, such as forklifts and yard tractors, is a leading cause of air pollution within nearby communities. With this funding, ports can begin replacing their diesel and gasoline-powered equipment with clean energy alternatives such as propane-powered port tractors, forklifts, and other cargo handling equipment (CHE). In fact, best-in-class propane forklift engines produce 97 percent fewer hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions when compared with similarly sized diesel forklifts without any drop-off in payload or power.
“This funding brings the opportunity for ports to take immediate steps toward decarbonization,” said PERC’s director of off-road business development Joe Calhoun. “Propane is a clean, powerful, dependable energy option available right now that can improve quality of life in surrounding port communities.”
Along with CHE upgrades, propane-powered charging infrastructure, such as mobile charging pods and anti-idling shore power technologies, are also eligible for funding. This is a cost-effective and low-emissions strategy to provide immediate clean energy power for CHE and other mobile equipment. Because propane is affordable, ports can more quickly implement clean solutions to accelerate emissions reductions.
Propane-powered microgrid projects are also eligible for PIDP grant funding. Microgrids are local, isolated, and independent electric grids that can be either grid-connected or disconnected. The microgrids produce power with a combination of propane generation equipment and renewable sources like wind and solar. By combining ultra-low emissions propane with renewable energy sources, ports are able to significantly reduce emissions.
Beyond emissions reductions, propane-powered microgrids provide autonomy and resilience that keeps the lights on, assures equipment is charged, and assists with making sure containers stay moving in the ports — even when the grid fails.
Qualified projects can be located within the port, outside a port boundary and directly related to port operations, or as an intermodal port connection. Grant applications must be submitted through Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. EST on April 28, 2023. For grant writing support, reach out to PERC at Propane.com/Contact.
There are many ways propane can help ports improve efficiency and reduce their carbon footprints. To learn more, visit Propane.com/Ports.