The idea of using liquefied natural gas to power vessels coming through the Port of Pittsburgh hasn’t advanced much since it popped up on the radar three years ago. But things should start moving quickly from here on, said Jim McCarville, executive director of the Port of Pittsburgh Commission.
The port is launching a study to assess the feasibility of producing LNG in the region, the infrastructure that will be needed to distribute it, and the financial and technical barriers to running boats with the fuel.
LNG is a cheaper and cleaner fuel than diesel for marine vessels and the supply is expected to be rather stable for years. For gas producers, the marine market, however small compared to heavy duty trucks, is yet another market for their product at a time when supply far outstrips demand.
Last year, the Richard King Mellon Foundation granted $75,000 to the effort. In December 2012, the Benedum Foundation pledged $98,750. But it’s taken the better part of a year for the port, which had never before been granted foundation funds for a project, to pull everything together.