NEW HAVEN — In the middle of a heat wave, the new Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Dan Esty came to the city’s port to tout new technology that looks to lower emissions from trucks and improve air quality.
A state and federal partnership provided $380,000 for the port to hire a Connecticut business, Control Module Industries, to install 14 electrification stations off Stiles Street where truckers can park in comfort with engines off as they wait to load or unload cargo.
Drivers can hook up to the stations to provide air conditioning or heat into the truck’s cab, as well as electricity for Internet access and television.
“To shut your engines off on a day like today, it gets really hot,” said James Bianco, president of the company. Bianco said an idling truck would use a gallon of diesel fuel per hour at close to $5 a gallon. Hooking up to the station costs $2.50, for a savings to the trucker and the environment.
The event took place on an air quality problem day, as a warning was issued for persons suffering from asthma and other lung-related problems, to limit time outside because of high concentrations of ground-level ozone.
While it is illegal for truckers to let engines idle, sending about 20 pounds of carbon dioxide per gallon into the air, it is estimated the average long haul driver idles his truck engine for some 2,400 hours each year.
“The warm weather adds to the logic of investing in resources that reduce air pollution,” Esty said of the new stop. He said savings for truckers is a plus.
The port area has problematic air quality given its location near Interstate 95 where up to 600 trucks a day drive in and out, the 44th largest port in the country by volume and the busiest in the state, said Judi Scheiffle, executive director of the New Haven Port Authority.
Bianco, who has increased his work force by 30 percent to 80 workers with his new division that now ships modules throughout the country, has been subcontracted to provide them for the highway rest stops in Connecticut that are being renovated. Bianco also manufactures charging stations for electric vehicles.
Esty said Bianco’s growing business is what he called the “triple E agenda ... environmental improvement, energy advance and economic growth all at once. It’s great to see that in practice.”
As part of its environmental agenda, James Redeker, acting state commissioner of transportation, said his agency has retrofitted its fleet or trucks to low-emission vehicles. The 350 new buses purchased by DOT include a significant number of hybrid-electric buses that reduce emissions and improve fuel economy.
At the beginning of Esty’s visit to New Haven, he and a group of students from the Cold Spring School visited the air monitoring station at Criscuolo Park. A decade ago, Esty said, the state had 80 unhealthy air quality days, which last year was down to 24.
By Mary E. O’Leary, Topics Editor
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