Ships at the Port of Long Beach will soon adorn some of their ship stacks with what looks like a bonnet.

It's not for fashion, but it does make a "green" statement.

Advanced Cleanup Technologies, a Rancho Dominguez company best known for its cleanup of hazardous waste spills, has developed an exhaust filtration system using a "bonnetlike" filter for ships and locomotives.

The filters weigh a half-ton, necessitating the use of a crane to place the device over a ship's smokestack, where exhaust from diesel engines is captured and scrubbed of toxic air pollutants.

An initial test last year showed the filtration system, named the Advanced Maritime Emissions Control System, or AMECS, captured at least 95 percent of major pollutants in ship diesel exhaust, port officials said.

Last week, the port preliminarily approved as much as $2.4 million to test the long-term feasibility of AMECS. The test will assess costs, durability and other operational issues associated with the system, which costs $9 million and can be used individually on multiple ships. A final vote is expected later this month.

Advanced Cleanup Chief Executive Ruben Garcia said the company saw cleaning up the ports as the same kind of business opportunity as cleaning up tanker spills on local freeways.

"We've been working for five years on this technology," Garcia said. "The bonnet was first applied to capture diesel soot from locomotives at a giant rail yard in Northern California, but then we thought it could work on container and tanker steamships."

Docked ships run their engines to power their electricity needs. The port has started equipping its shipping terminals with electric power that allows ships to shut down their diesel engines known as "cold ironing" but the filter could be used to cut pollution at berths that are not outfitted with shore power.

The testing, which will start within a month and could last up to a year, will be conducted at bulk cargo terminal Berth G214, owned by Metro Ports.

Garcia said he's hoping to market the technology around the world after proving its success locally. The Business Journal wrote about Advanced Cleanup three years ago when the technology was under development.

Cementing a Deal

Also at the Port of Long Beach, Cemera Long Beach LLC has proposed to construct and operate a 12.6-acre sand, gravel and granite aggregate terminal, and ready-mix concrete plant.

The terminal would import, store and distribute aggregate materials for construction projects in the Southern California region. It would be located in a vacant spot on Pier B Street next to the National Gypsum Co. facility.

Although the terminal is not a port project nor would use port funds, because it is located within the harbor the port is acting as the lead agency for environmental reviews under the California Environmental Quality Act.

The site was contaminated by a previous industrial use. From 1924-2001, the J.H. Baxter Co. operated a wood-treatment facility there. Most recently, it has been a loading site for wood being shipped domestically and internationally.

Before developing an environmental impact report, the port is seeking public comments at a 6:30 p.m. Thursday meeting in Long Beach City Council chambers.

Job Losses

L.A.'s manufacturing sector has been shrinking and is expected to continue to do so during the rest of 2009, according to the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp.

Jack Kyser, a chief economist with the non-profit corporation, said it's likely that manufacturing jobs will dip below 400,000 for the first time in decades this summer.

In 1990, L.A. County was home to 812,000 manufacturing jobs, many of which were lost after the aerospace industry went bust. As of April, the figure was 400,600. Kyser said there is no pattern to which businesses are being hit the hardest.

Kyser said notable closures in 2009 have included: El Monte's Gregg Industries, which manufactured metal parts for trucks and machines and employed 247 people until April; Alhambra's aluminum product maker International Extrusion Corp., which moved to Waxahachie, Texas, and took 160 jobs; and Superior Industries International Inc.'s Van Nuys plant, which made aluminum wheels and employed 290 people until January.

Staff reporter Francisco Vara-Orta can be reached at fvara-orta@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 241.

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