Inside Passage Decarbonization Project 2018 Awareness & Education Voyage

Inside Passage Decarbonization stickers were happily received by boaters, Port and marina operators, First Nation band members.

Inside Passage Decarbonization Project Winter and Spring Update

As the end of its first year approaches, it is time to share what the Inside Passage Decarbonization Project (IPDP) did over the past Winter and early Spring. We have been primarily focused on – exchanging ideas through listening and learning, connecting with potential leaders, and gaining local knowledge about current activity and interests.

First, I kicked off January as the first speaker at Quadra Island’s unique “U of Q” (University of Quadra) winter series class at the venerable 130-year-old Heriot Bay Inn.  My presentation featured the IPDP's goals and plans to motivate leaders who are interested to facilitating local and regional marine decarbonization. Over 40 people attended the talk with questions keeping me on my toes well over the one-hour lecture. I fielded invitations the next day to sit down individually with four local individuals interested in change, from transitioning their boat fuel and lubricants, planning propulsion for an old vessel being renovated, a brand new steel cruising sailboat, and helping to plan the possible installation of the first new biofuel pump as part of the renovations at the Heriot Bay fuel docksSecond, the presentation at Vancouver Island University in February, as part of the Clean Waterways Through Alternative Energy Summit, organized by IPDP’s and ex-Canadian Coast Guard’s and Oceans & Fisheries’ Howard Matwick (more on Howard in a future blog) and our co-presenters, Dylan Smith of the Cowichan Energy Alternatives Society and Brian Roberts from the Cowichan Biodiesel Co-op. The co-op has an active biodiesel station set up for a fraction of the cost of new fueling stations by recycling “dump pumps” that can be retrofitted as "smart pumps" with custom blending that serve co-op members who fuel themselves, with payment & receipts easily managed online. The opportunities to learn and share resources were immediate and while it may still be a hike to get to the only biodiesel pump on Vancouver Island from the boat docks, it is available now!  The Cowichan folks would very much like to add a marine renewable fuel dock in the future.

Third, we held the first annual 2018 IPDP Solutions Summit in Port Hardy in early March. The all-day open house event allowed for valuable one-on-one time with a port counselor, First Nation leader, boatbuilder, and other individuals who care deeply and are exploring the most suitable local options to decarbonize the Inside Passage. This event deserves its own blog entry soon.

Fourth and finally, I was part of Port Angeles, Washington’s annual Celebration of Science & Technology in April on the City Pier next to the Fiero Marine Life Center, at the edge of the incredible Salish Sea Strait of Juan de Fuca.  In addition to the scientists surrounding me as presenters, a stream of young people interested in scientific solutions took in the IPDP ideas and were anxious to learn and share more.  

While all this was going on, I had meetings or conversations seeking strategic advice and potential partnerships with the Sightline Institute from Seattle, GoodFuels out of the Netherlands, Australian cellulosic Renewable diesel pioneer Licella and their Canadian partner, Canfor, and with an amazing group of five engineering and physics professors interested in the project from five leading NW universities. Hopefully, this is just the start with all these groups.   

Upcoming, AMA Natura will be part of Greentech Marine’s annual conference in Vancouver, BC where I also be meeting with Greenpeace at their founding location.

 

 Peter with his new battery-powered biodiesel pump

Peter with his new battery-powered biodiesel pump

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)