More grant funding available for ports to decarbonize using propane

April 16, 2024 By    
Photo courtesy of the Propane Education & Research Council

Photo courtesy of the Propane Education & Research Council

The U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration opened applications for the Port Infrastructure Development Program once again. More than $650 million in grant funding is available for projects that include environmental and emissions mitigation measures and terminal equipment upgrades. The grant dollars can go to eligible projects such as cargo handling equipment purchases and operational improvements.

“The demand for clean and reliable power in ports continues to increase, but the availability of infrastructure is slowing clean energy efforts,” says Tucker Perkins, president and CEO of the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). “Propane is a viable solution because it is a clean alternative energy source that is readily available to both charge electric vehicles and power other applications in ports.”

With the funding, ports can begin to replace their diesel and gasoline-powered equipment with clean energy alternatives such as propane-powered port tractors, forklifts and other cargo handling equipment, according to PERC. The best propane forklift engines have 99 percent cleaner emissions output than similarly sized diesel forklifts without any drop-off in payload or power, PERC reports.

Also available for the grant funds is propane-powered charging infrastructure, such as mobile charging units. With power generation technology advancements, port authorities can purchase mobile charging infrastructure powered by propane generators, which are approximately 98 percent cleaner than diesel variations, PERC says.

“Mobile charging units are a strong investment for terminal operators and businesses alike because you can take them where you need,” Perkins says. “You’re not stuck in one place, so fleets and infrastructure can evolve with the business.”

Propane-powered microgrid projects are also eligible for the program. Microgrids are local, isolated and independent electric grids that can be grid connected or disconnected. The microgrids produce power with a combination of propane generation equipment and renewable sources like wind and solar. Beyond emissions reductions, propane-fueled microgrids provide autonomy and resilience that maintains power, assures equipment is charged and assists with keeping containers on the move in the ports – even when the grid fails, PERC adds.

Qualified projects can be located within the port, outside a port boundary and directly related to port operations, or as an intermodal port connection. Grant applications must be submitted through by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on May 10. PERC offers grant-writing support at

About the Author:

Danielle Pesta is the senior digital media manager for North Coast Media, the parent company of LP Gas. She can be reached at

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