A Surprising Player in Decarbonizing the Inside Passage

There are many players that need to be involved in decarbonizing the Inside Passage besides boatowners.  These other important players include port directors and commissioners, marina owner’s, fuel dock managers and owners, resort owners, chandlery managers, bands and tribes, commercial fishermen/women, commercial fleet owners, etc. 

A big one that most folks probably would not expect are the producers and owners of waste streams.  Advancements in bioscience and the bioeconomy have led to cost-effective fuels, made from waste streams, that work perfectly in diesel vessels (and in airplanes).  This product is Renewable Diesel (and Renewable Aviation Fuel).  Here in the Inside Passage, these waste sources include pulpmill, sawmill, slash and other forestry bi-products, fish and meat processing bi-products, coffee grounds, landfills, even partially-treated sewage and the rather voluminous waste glycerin bi-product of batch biodiesel production. Many of these technologies are described in detail on the Resources page in the "BIOFUELS - RENEWABLE DIESEL AND BIODIESEL" section.  Producing these green marine fuels also creates green jobs – one of the central strategies of IPDP.  A significant example is the fully-financed Canfor cellulosic waste-based Renewable Diesel and Renewable Aviation Fuel plant nearing ground-breaking near Prince George.

The IPDP is starting work on a “living” chart/map of the significant waste streams that exist along the Inside Passage.  Email us with information about these potential low-carbon fuel sources in your area (location, contents, source, size parameters, historic or on-going, photos, etc.). Please hit the Contact button and let us know.  Thank you!

It’s great to have you aboard! 

DSC_0004 (1).jpg

5. The IPDP’s Mission & Evolving Strategies

Mission

1.      Start NOW!  No more waiting for governments or industry to move agressively enough - they have not and likely will not in time.  This is a grass roots, boater and port driven project!

2.     Make it easy for boaters and shippers who want to begin transiting the Inside Passage close to carbon-free to do so conveniently – by adding waste-sourced Renewable Diesel (“Green Diesel”) and Biodiesel pumps as soon and as in as many locations as possible.

3.     Support thoughtful and participatory development of local, appropriately-scaled, waste-sourced marine and road biofuels, renewable shore and port power, and renewable hydrogen where practical - as demand increases over time. 

As inside Passage residents, bands/tribes, businesses, governments and boating visitors together do these two things, we can expect substantial near-term benefits to local ports and local residents from reducing the export of local dollars for non-local tar sands, Bakken, offshore and imported marine fuels.  Instead, communities and entrepreneurs can create local jobs, local tax base and cleaner water by producing biofuels made from local waste streams – including forestry, sawmill and pulp mill wastes; sewage wastes, landfill wastes, fish farm wastes, etc. And, perhaps someday, harvest and make low carbon fuel from the seriously overgrowing abundant species of algae that “flourish” in the inside Passage, while annually making shellfish poisonous for part of the year.

 

Strategies

 1.      Share and collaborate with all sincere parties and entities who want to develop an effective decarbonizing plan and act on it, fromsingle boaters to large ports and waste-rich businesses.

2.     Support and educate communities and businesses where needed or asked; ideally where direct costs are covered.  Present and help other interested folks present decarbonization concepts at boatshows, yachtclubs, etc.

3.     Host an annual “solutions table” (summit) in a different IP port each year to share ideas and experiences, build partnerships, make new decarbonizing friends, and help build an effective movement.

4.     Effectively employ media and social media so that interest is stimulated, progress is accelerated and other marine waterways around the world consider starting their own, local Decarbonization efforts.

5.     Identify one or more not-for-profit entities willing to take on the role of fiscal agent for the time being, so that donations can be made tax-deductibly. 

           

It’s truly great to have you aboard! 

4. Renewable Products We Need in the Inside Passage

Those who want to travel carbon-free by using clean fuels should easily be able to do so.  We now have the reason and the opportunity to produce waste-sourced clean fuels with very low carbon “displacements.”  Many examples exist: 

·      Biofuels from forestry and sewage wastes. Canfor is poised to build a large Renewable Diesel and Renewable Aviation fuel waste-sourced plant soon near Prince George.  And there are a large number of Canadian and some Alaska ports who are not adequately treating their sewage that is going into the IP (Inside Passage) waters.  These can and should be transformed into job-creating, clean water protecting biofuel facilities making renewable diesel.

·      Biolubricants (motor and transmission oil; miscellaneous greases and light oils) and bio-based hydraulic fluid, which are one of the very easiest and most logical way to get started with decarbonizing your own vessel.  NOAA has found that the Renewable Lubricants motor oil it has long employed stays in spec significantly longer than the petroleum-based ones traditionally used.

·      Renewable shore power charging for electric vessels – like the many electric passenger and even car ferries running throughout the world, and increasingly entering segments of the IP.  Some ports, like Port Hardy, Port McNeill are already providing renewable shorepower but do not even let their customers know this.  Why?  And Blind Channel is installing the first tidal renewable shorepower on the IP – way to go Blind Channel!

·      Hydro- or wind-generated hydrogen for the increasing number of vessels  and cars - -using this gas that is so much cleaner than natural gas.  The NOAA Green Ships Initiatives (See Resources page) believes that H2 is the most probable and economic endgame for marine propulsion.  This would mean boats that leave the water cleaner in their wake than at their bows!  Wow.

3. Absence of Clean Marine Fuel and Power Options in the Inside Passage

Our own “Inside Passagemaker,” Ama Natura, has for almost 10 years been cruising the NW’s Inside Passage waterway with 99.9% waste-sourced biodiesel and bio-based lubricants.  That is, until we exceeded AMA’s roughly 1,100NM range and had to put dirty diesel in her tanks on the way back from SE Alaska.  As our voyaging grew louder, smokier and much less healthy for ourselves and the wild marine animals whose world we were sharing, this felt plain awful.

That’s because, in spite of persistent attempts to find even just one, there are no longer any biofuel marine fuel pumps - and little renewably-produced shore power - anywhere in the Inside Passage. Some exceptions are Blind Channel, BC, which is working at adding tidal power!  And Ports Hardy and McNeill, which have a 100% mix of wind and safe hydro shorepower.

Science and industry now can make waste-sourced drop-in fuels that eliminate earlier problems with food conflicts, longer term storage and consistent quality.  Starting now, the lack of access to low carbon fuels, clean lubricants and renewable shore power in the Inside Passage has to change! 

To learn more about steps you can take now, check out the Start Decarb'ing pages.

Welcome aboard the IPDP!

2. Renewably-Powered Vessels Increasing

The shift to clean, low or no carbon marine fuels began - around the world – over 20 years ago.  In 2014 the Great Lakes already had over 350 commercial ships and large boats using biodiesel, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab run by the US’s NOAA (National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration).  The growing number of renewably-powered vessels now also includes both electric – frequently with substantial solar and/or wind charging - and a significant number of hydrogen vessels.

When my wife and I visited England, the Netherlands and Denmark four years ago to learn more about the hydrogen-powered ferries in each of those countries; what we found were passenger vessels that almost magically leave the water cleaner in their wake than at their bows.  And we were surprised to see that somewhere close to half of the boats running in those northern countries’ canals employed electric propulsion!  By now, there have to be many more.  (You will find photos of some of these boats on the Resources page.)

Welcome aboard the good ship, decarbthepassage.net.

1. Beginning of the End of High Carbon Fuels and Power in the Inside Passage

Welcome to the beginning of the end of high carbon, high polluting marine fuels in the Northwest’s beautiful and wild Inside Passage marine waterway!  Welcome also to this new website and its first blog. 

Most of you who work or play around ships and boats well understand that the warming ocean and atmosphere require us to change how we are powering and lubricating our cars, trucks, AND vessels.  Like the landmark Paris agreement among virtually all the world’s nations to do what it takes to hold the increase to 2 degrees Celsius, we boaters must shift to propulsion that is clean, green and, above all else, carbon free.  

This website and the deeply experienced green boaters and clean fuel developers behind it are here to help you not only join, but to help lead this change in your port and community. 

If you are still uncertain about the damaging challenges the Inside Passage is facing with the rest of the marine world and the need to change how we propel and lubricate our vessels, The Problems page in the Resources section provides some examples of the solid evidence of this.

There can be clear sailing ahead!  Let me welcome you aboard!

P1030836.JPG

The beautiful Broughtons (Photo by P. Wilcox)