PERC: Grant funding allows ports to decarbonize using propane

March 31, 2023 By    

The U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration opened applications for the Port Infrastructure Development Program. More than $600 million in grant funding is available for projects that include environmental and emissions mitigation measures and terminal equipment upgrades.

Port tractor illustration: Tryaging/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Tryaging/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

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 the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). The best propane forklift engines produce 97 percent less hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide emissions when compared with similarly sized diesel forklifts without any drop-off in payload or power, PERC reports.

“This funding brings the opportunity for ports to take immediate steps toward decarbonization,” says Joe Calhoun, PERC’s director of off-road business development. “Propane is a clean, powerful, dependable energy option available right now that can improve quality of life in surrounding port communities.”

Propane-powered charging infrastructure, such as mobile charging pods and anti-idling shore power technologies, are also eligible for the funding. This is a cost-effective and low-emissions strategy to provide immediate clean energy power for cargo handling equipment and other mobile equipment, PERC says.

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 April 28. PERC offers grant-writing support at

About the Author:

Brian Richesson is the editor in chief of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at or 216-706-3748.

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