Capture and Control System for Oil Tankers Project


SCH Number
Public Agency
South Coast Air Quality Management District
Document Title
Capture and Control System for Oil Tankers Project
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Document Description
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD) is partnering with others to develop a capture and control system to demonstrate that the commercially available capture and control technologies currently used by container vessels can be adapted for oil tanker vessels at berth (proposed project). Additionally, the system will seek certification from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as an alternative control technology under Control Measure for Ocean-Going Vessels At Berth. The proposed project is expected to commence in March 2021 and end June 2023. The proposed project is expected to include the following activities: 1) prepare a Tanker Safety Assessment Study to identify equipment and operational specifications to ensure vessel safety; 2) design power system specifications and configuration; 3) prepare a CARB test plan that will be used to test the barge-based capture and control system on auxiliary engines and boilers for oil tanker vessels; 4) construct the capture and control system, which includes two purification units, an emissions capture system, exhaust pipe connectors, and an emissions control unit; 5) assemble the capture and control system onto the barge; 6) install and integrate a power system onto a barge platform; 7) conduct a maximum of 1,000 hours of testing of the capture and control system on at least five unique oil tanker vessels to demonstrate the widest-feasible range of application and report testing data; 8) conduct an additional 100 hours of testing for auxiliary engine and boiler carbon capture demonstration on two tankers and report testing data; and 9) prepare and submit a final report to CARB. The proposed project uses a single movable, self-powered barge that can be maneuvered alongside a vessel at berth. It consists of a dual fuel power system which can be switched between renewable diesel and hydrogen fuel, solar power, battery storage, an emissions capture and control system, connectors, and purification units. There is an onsite renewable diesel refueling station and the hydrogen fuel will be supplied by a mobile refueler from a renewable source from an existing hydrogen fueling station within the City of Ontario. The barge will remotely connect, capture, and purify the exhaust emissions from the auxiliary engines and boilers of a berthed oil tanker vessel in the San Pedro Bay ports. The barge will use four barge spuds to act as an anchor to position next to a tanker vessel. These spuds are anticipated to anchor at a minimum of 60 feet to the channel sea floor, which has previously been dredged. Once anchored, the capture and control system will extend a 250-foot hydraulic placement arm over the exhaust pipe of up to two operating exhaust pipes. The exhaust emissions will be drawn through the duct and sent to two purification units. Each purification unit is comprised of a diesel particulate filter, an electric heater, urea injection, a selective catalytic reduction system, a reactive organic gas elimination system, a fan, and a heat recover heat exchanger. The proposed project is anticipated to eliminate 95% of emissions from the exhaust of auxiliary engines and boilers.

Contact Information

Alina Mullins
Agency Name
South Coast Air Quality Management District
Contact Types
Lead/Public Agency


Long Beach, Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Other Location Info
The proposed project is located on water channels within one of the following two existing facilities of the San Pedro Bay ports in County of Los Angeles, California: 1) Port of Los Angeles, 425 South Palos Verdes Street, San Pedro, California, 90731 or 2) Port of Long Beach, 415 West Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, California, 90802.

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Categorical Exemption
Type, Section or Code
15301(a), 15303(d), 15306
Reasons for Exemption
South Coast AQMD staff has reviewed the proposed project pursuant to: 1) CEQA Guidelines Section 15002(k) - General Concepts, the three-step process for deciding which document to prepare for a project subject to CEQA; and 2) CEQA Guidelines Section 15061 - Review for Exemption, procedures for determining if a project is exempt from CEQA. The capture and control system demonstration portion of the proposed project is located within the existing port boundaries with existing port facilities and infrastructure in industrial and heavily developed areas. The areas have also been disturbed through historical dredging and regularly accommodate multiple vessel calls, trucks, and other on-dock rail operations. Installation and testing of a capture and control system on a single barge that is not built on land or on a terminal’s wharf will require no physical reinforcements or modifications to the existing physical environment, berth, and infrastructure. Because the barge will be self-powered, the proposed project is anticipated to require no system mounting or energy supply or re fueling structures. The proposed project is considered to be categorically exempt from CEQA pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15301(a) – Existing Facilities, because the proposed project does not require the construction or installation of a capture and control system on land such as a terminal’s wharf, and it involves negligible or no expansion of the existing uses of terminal-side facilities or infrastructure, or the existing uses of auxiliary engines and boilers on oil tanker vessels. The proposed project uses spuds to anchor the barge in the existing water channels that have been heavily dredged. The disturbance of the sea floor is a minor alteration of existing features. Moreover, because the proposed project implementation may require the installation of solar panels, fuel cell, and hydrogen storage on the barge, which may involve construction, assembling, and staging of limited numbers of small new equipment or structures on land, the proposed project is also considered to be categorically exempt from CEQA pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15303(d) – New Construction or Conversion of Small Structures. Finally, because the overarching purpose of this demonstration project is to collect data from testing to verify the emissions reduction benefits of the capture and control technologies on oil tanker vessels, the proposed project is also considered to be categorically exempt from CEQA pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15306 – Information Collection. Further, South Coast AQMD staff has determined that there is no substantial evidence indicating that any of the exceptions to the categorical exemptions apply to the proposed project pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15300.2 – Exceptions. Therefore, the proposed project is exempt from CEQA.


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