Flywheel power storage system approved for Los Angeles port cranes
Port of Los Angeles officials have approved the purchase of a high-tech system to cut fuel use and reduce emissions from rubber-tired gantry cranes at three port terminals.
The REGEN system, manufactured by Yorba Linda-based Vycon, utilizes a flywheel system to recapture electrical power generated by the cranes' diesel engines during the lifting of containers. This generated power is normally dissipated while the crane operator lowers a container or brakes the crane mechanism. The Vycon system shunts this previously lost electrical power to a storage system that utilizes a high-mass flywheel that rotates in a vacuum chamber on near frictionless magnetic bearings. The power is stored as long as the flywheel continues to spin and can be redirected back to the crane's main lifting motors, reducing the amount needed to be generated by the RTG's diesel engines.
According to Vycon, the system significantly reduces the load to an equipped crane's diesel generator, thereby cutting fuel consumption by up to 25 percent and reducing diesel emissions by more than half.
Vycon, under terms of the deal, will install its system in one RTG operated by Los Angeles port tenants Yusen Terminals Inc., Marine Terminal Corp. and TraPac. Los Angeles port officials, hoping to test the system across a wide range of RTG manufacturers, required that each of the three Vycon systems be installed in a different brand of RTG.
The three systems are being purchased through the port's Air Quality Mitigation Incentive Program, a five-year $20 million program to reduce port-generated emissions or develop emission reducing technologies for use in the port.
The AQMIP program was mandated by a 2004 lawsuit settlement with the National Resource Defense Council over the development of a China Shipping terminal at the port. The settlement, related to the environmental impact of the terminal, eventually cost the port more than $100 million in mitigation costs and lost income.
Financial details of the Vycon transaction were not released, although a December 2007 transmittal from port staff to the governing board itemized AQMIP grant approvals of $157,000 for RTG flywheel systems at the three Los Angeles terminals. However, the transmittal does not mention Vycon and lists two RTG flywheel systems approved for both MTC and TraPac and three for YTI. No mention of the Vycon deal is listed in released port commission agenda documents.
In late 2006, Vycon installed one flywheel system in a MTC crane and one in an RTG crane at the neighboring Port of Long Beach. The firm has also installed numerous flywheel system in ports through the world, from the United Kingdom to Hong Kong. ' Keith Higginbothamv