Office of Environment

The Office of Environment (OE) is one of three Offices that report to the Associate Administrator for Environment and Compliance. The OE serves three primary functions within the Maritime Administration:

  • Provides Agency environmental support, including Agency compliance with applicable environmental laws, regulations, and Executive Orders; National Environmental Policy Act reviews and evaluations; and environmental support for Port and Inter-modal Infrastructure and America’s Marine Highway Program.
  • Provides marine transportation stakeholder support and assistance, including R&D related to emerging marine transportation environmental issues.
  • Provides advice to the Maritime Administrator and the Department of Transportation related to domestic and international environmental and energy policies that affect marine transportation.

S-F Breeze —  Feasibility Study  Report on Zero Emission High-speed Passenger Ferry (10/14/2016)

MARAD has released a feasibility study that examines the technical, regulatory, and economic feasibility of a high-speed passenger ferry powered solely by hydrogen fuel cells and its associated hydrogen fueling infrastructure in the San Francisco Bay.  The study determined that it is possible technologically to build and to operate a 150 passenger, high speed, zero emission hydrogen-powered ferry and its associated hydrogen station in the current regulatory environment; however the current ferry design has a cost premium compared to a conventional diesel ferry.  Cost reduction strategies specific to the vessel design and strategies for leveraging developments in the fuel cell technology are now being explored.  The study, which was funded through MARAD’s Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance (META) Program and conducted by Sandia National Laboratories, can be found at  sf-breeze-ferry-feasibility-study-report-by-sandia-national-laboratory-2

Hybrid Tug — Battery Risk Analysis Project (6/24/2016)

This META funded project undertaken with Foss Maritime Company analyzes the benefits and risks associated with the reinstallation of batteries as part of the vessel’s hybrid power system after a battery-related fire aboard a hybrid tug.  The project showed that a refined design with explosion protection, structural separation from occupied spaces, specialized battery controls, and shutdown protocols improved the risk profile for the hybrid power system.  The project also demonstrated that without the battery array, the hybrid system would not achieve the tug’s full performance requirements nor the emissions and fuel consumption reductions made possible by hybrid technology. The final report is available here: Final Report On Battery Re-installation

Ship Energy Efficiency White Paper (6/24/2016)

META funded a White Paper on energy efficiency under a cooperative agreement with the Ship Operators Cooperative Program (SOCP).

The completed White Paper provides ship owners and operators with an overview of the latest on energy efficiency measures for marine vessels, discussing how the technology works, potential fuel savings, applicability to various vessels types, and lifecycle costs.  The Paper provides a basis upon which owners and operators can evaluate potential investments in efficiency measures and technologies. The White Paper is available here: SOCP EE White Paper

Puget Sound Clean Air Agency Project (10/20/2015)

MARAD announces the availability of the final report for a multi-year study with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) providing real-time exhaust emissions data related to the repower of a Puget Sound Tug. The project received funding from MARAD’s Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance (META) program and provides actual data on operating emissions associated with the replacement of old engines with modern EPA certified Tier-2 engines, as well as cost/benefit information. Additional partners in the project included the Washington State Department of Ecology, Island Tug & Barge, and Seattle Central Community College Maritime Academy.

The project included the replacement of four unregulated engines on the MV Island Chief with new Tier 2-certified engines. With that simple upgrade, operation of the new engines resulted in a significant reduction of particulate matter emissions (greater than 60%) and a fuel consumption savings of approximately 30%. This latter savings was reinvested to replace additional engines on another Island Tug & Barge tugboat.

As part of the project, the PSCAA sponsored a harbor vessel workshop that gathered more than 80 representatives from the maritime industry and government transportation and environmental agencies to further discuss and encourage emission reduction strategies; two community college students found employment in the industry; and the Washington State Department of Ecology established a fund to assist other Puget Sound operators to repower tugboats. Puget Sound Clean Air Agency Project Report 2015