11.14 Approved Minutes

 

CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO
BIODIESEL MARINE COMMITTEE 

REGULAR MEETING

 

APPROVED MINUTES

 TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2006, 11:00 A.M. (Corrected)

 

PORT OF SAN FRANCISCO, PIER ONE

CONFERENCE ROOM BAYSIDE 3

SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102

TASK FORCE MEMBERS:  VOTING:  Eric Bowen, Karri Ving, Richard Berman, Two At Large Members-Vacant

 TASK FORCE SECRETARY:  Monica Fish

 

ORDER OF BUSINESS

 1.      CALL TO ORDER AND ROLL CALL.  The meeting was called to order at 11:07 a.m.  Present:  Members Bowen, Ving and Berman.

 

Mr. Nick Weber and Mr. von Wedel were part of question and answer sessions throughout the meeting.  Mr. von Wedel led discussions on agenda items 2 – 3.

 

2.      DISCUSSION:  Maritime interest in the use of marine biodiesel as an alternative fuel in order to provide the Port Authority evidence of demand for biodiesel in specific sectors (fleets, yachts, etc.). 

 

Member Bowen described the Marine Committee’s purpose in encouraging biodiesel use on the Bay and developing reasonable access of biodiesel for marine fleets.  It was explained that two additional Committee seats would be filled at a future time.  Mr. Nick Weber, Division Manager for International Marine Fuels, dba San Francisco Petroleum Company was introduced. Member Bowen reported that San Francisco Petroleum Company has been trying to lease Port property at Pier 80, Islais Creek, for their new headquarters, and as a potential location for marine biodiesel fueling.

 

Mr. Randall von Wedel, BioSolar Group, CytoCulture International led a discussion on this topic.   

 

Mr. von Wedel stated that the BioSolar Group has been working with biodiesel in San Francisco since 1993 and described the history of biodiesel use on the Bay.  It was explained that all of the early pioneering use of biodiesel in California originated in San Francisco Bay by small recreational marine vessels.  The reasons for use included health, environmental and aesthetic benefits.  It was stated that it was inconceivable for ferries, fleets, trucks or cars to use biodiesel in the mid 1990’s because of the high cost (three to seven times higher than diesel).  It was conceivable that recreational boaters who use 10 to 30 gallons a year would be willing to absorb the high cost.  In the mid 1990’s there were 200 boats on the San Francisco Bay running on anywhere from B20 to B100.  A survey summary of 100 boaters using biodiesel from 1994-1997 is available for review. 

 

A Department of Energy (DOE) grant allowed further establishment and amplification of the marine biodiesel market in the late 1990’s, e.g. from 1997-1999 there was an effort funded by DOE to set up 12 fueling stations in the San Francisco Bay Area from as far north as San Rafael and as far south as Monterey Bay. These stations were not dispensing fuel directly the way San Francisco Petroleum would be or the way it is done in fuel stations today, but rather in containers.  Five-gallon totes were dispensed at twelve different locations for several years.  It was indicated that data was collected and summarized in a report that is available.  During that time, tax codes were set up that define biodiesel as an additive in blends of up to 20%, a biodiesel definition was established through the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and a National Biodiesel Board was established to try to promote marine biodiesel use nationally. 

 

Since that time, the effort languished because when funding stopped, the discrepancy in pricing made it difficult to market biodiesel.  Mr. von Wedel explained that even today the cost differential between diesel and biodiesel, even though it is substantially less is still an issue (B20 might be 10-20 cents different, B100 may be 50 or 60 cents different).  Use is sporadic based on the user’s own accord.  People who purchase biodiesel fill up in cans or their own totes and hand carry them to docks, which is not to be encouraged because of spill hazards.  It was advised that dispensing of fuel at many marinas is prohibited.  The need for fuel docks for small fleets, ferries and larger vessels to use B20 was discussed. 

 

Mr. von Wedel discussed an effort led by an individual who volunteered to fund and subsidize a private facility in Sausalito that opened on August 24, called the Sausalito Marine Fuel Dock located at Clipper Yacht Harbor, that serves Sausalito, Tiburon to Paradise Cove.  This facility has a dedicated biodiesel tank that was donated and retrofitted with new plumbing.  The dock is operational but not yet open to the public because the tank locations have to be relocated, re-permitted, and re-plumbed as they are interfering with an existing restaurant.  A new location has been identified and may be operational by the beginning of 2007 for any recreational boat.  An informational biodiesel handbook will be updated and a new version published by April 2007.  Mr. von Wedel advised that currently a 65-foot tour boat called the Empress Bay that carries up to 40 passengers, a working vessel that services larger operations in the area, and a tugboat would be running on B20 shortly. Thanks were extended to the Earth Race group that came through with B100 use through that same facility.

A discussion was held on the efforts of the Red and White Fleet and praise was given to Mr. Tom Esher, a biodiesel supporter for many years.  It was stated that Mr. Esher’s group has been experimenting and pioneering biodiesel as long as three years ago through meetings with the Port to try to establish a fueling facility at Pier 47, but were unsuccessful because of property rights and other constraints. 

 

Mr. von Wedel encouraged the Committee to expedite the establishment of a commercial facility and offered to serve as an advisor and answer technical questions as they relate to marine applications. 

 

Item 4 and 5 were heard together, before Item 3.

 

3.      DISCUSSION:  Biodiesel and Aquatic Toxicity.

 

Mr. von Wedel led the discussion on biodiesel and aquatic toxicity advising that biodiesel has been extensively studied in academic government and private sector labs to determine the impact of spills.  It was explained that most small pleasure craft operate with wet exhaust so anytime a diesel engine is operating you have air and water emissions, which is a serious problem, and that is why people became interested in biodiesel in the 1990s.  Aquatic studies were performed on biodiesel on aquatic organisms and certain plants.  The result was that the chemical toxicity of biodiesel was relatively small, but there was a detrimental effect as a physical form of damage to organisms that have exposed gills and to certain types of San Francisco shoreline plants.

 

Member Berman asked how the risk of biodiesel compares to petroleum diesel.  Mr. von Wedel stated that biodiesel has a much lower risk than diesel, but is not at zero.  If a low tide area was coated with biodiesel you would have a negative impact on larvae forms, certain types of marine plants, and on crustaceans.   It was advised that legally the inadvertent release or the spillage of fuel has the same constraints, codes, and penalties mitigated by the federal government whether it is gasoline, biodiesel, or diesel.  Transport by barges of biodiesel is not that different than diesel fuel from a Coast Guard perspective.  The marine biotoxicity studies that were conducted in California used fuel oil as a reference rather than diesel fuel.  It was stated that until recently, work vessels, tugs and ferries drove on Marine Diesel Oil (MDO), which is a lower grade than is used currently, and toxicity studies had been performed on MDO. 

 

Member Bowen stated that as the Committee goes out to market to the broader diesel and biodiesel community, the primary message should be how much cleaner biodiesel is than petroleum diesel. Mr. von Wedel offered to develop a table that shows composition of modern California Air Resources Board (CARB 15), an ultra low sulfur diesel.  A chemical breakdown could be done on what is in CARB 15, what is in B100 and what can be estimated and calculated to be in B20.  Conclusions can be made first from an air emissions study and second from a water release study.  Mr. von Wedel stated that he is working on a Biodiesel Handbook that may be completed by Earth Day 2007.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Weber asked if there is a number that could be derived that would state that biodiesel has less of an impact than diesel in the marine environment.  Mr. von Wedel stated that the Committee could review the data that he will assemble and collectively come up with a statistical average.   Member Berman asked if the Committee would be sanctioning a report.  Member Bowen stated that he felt that the Committee is in an information-gathering stage at this point and a report may be sanctioned in the future

 

Items 4 and 5 were heard together.

 

4.      DISCUSSION:   Current biodiesel use on the Bay.

 

5.      DISCUSSION:  Marine fueling infrastructure, fueling service companies, fuel regulatory matters, and increasing and improving marine biodiesel use.

 

Member Bowen reported on a consolidated bid in progress that Contra Costa County manages for several East Bay Counties through the Golden Gate Transit Authority for one of the ferry companies to use B20.  It was stated that Golden Gate Petroleum has been providing the Golden Gate Transit Authority with B20 by wet hosing at General Petroleum’s marine dock at Pier 47.  It was recommended that the bid winner be invited to participate in Committee meetings because they would actively be providing fuel on the Bay, and the Committee would like to support their activities in a positive way.  It was stated that the bid has not been awarded yet, but the number one bidder is a company called BioFriendly.  Member Bowen stated that he would be following up with the owner, who has historically been a broker of fuel and has subcontracted all delivery, to follow up and encourage their participation in the process.

 

Member Bowen discussed the two options for biodiesel use on the Bay.  It was explained that General Petroleum is a large petroleum distribution company with facilities in Southern and Northern California, and one of the largest biodiesel distributors in Southern California.   It was indicated that Northern California General Petroleum does not want to deal with biodiesel.  Golden Gate Petroleum has been approaching General Petroleum to allow them to put in a pump that either Golden Gate or General would pay for and Golden Gate would service with biodiesel. 

 

Member Bowen encouraged members and interested parties to work with General Petroleum to provide biodiesel on the Bay.  It was stated that Pier 47 is the only on water fueling infrastructure in San Francisco and suggested that the Committee inquire whether biodiesel fueling can be added to the existing diesel fueling that is there.  In addition, a request was made for the Committee to support San Francisco Petroleum’s efforts to add a second fueling location at Pier 80 in order to provide the best options, pricing, to encourage the highest volume use for consumers, and to avoid monopoly-fueling situations.  It was recommended that other proposals be evaluated when they become available and to push these current proposals forward as they have the highest chance of success at this time.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. von Wedel stated that Pier 47 may have limited access because of its size, and that some of the larger ferries were not able to gain access.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Nick Weber stated that their understanding is that Pier 80, Islais Creek, is a deep-water channel so significant ships can come in as long as there was supply. 

 

Member Bowen asked for the location where large ships fuel diesel today.  Mr. von Wedel stated that some are wet hosed and it is possible that it is all done by truck by General Petroleum.  Mr. Weber explained that General Petroleum is one of the few companies left today that is doing wet hosing on the bay because of the requirements, Coast Guard controls, and economic infeasibility for others. 

 

Member Berman asked for a definition of wet hosing. Mr. Weber explained that wet hosing is when you take a land-based truck and pull it up to the water’s edge and hose directly into the vessel.  Member Bowen stated that this method causes a greater chance of spills.  Mr. von Wedel advised that emergency response procedures, insurance, and bonds are required.  It was stated that only Golden Gate and General Petroleum do wet hosing at this time.  Mr. Weber advised that it was not feasible for San Francisco Petroleum to pursue wet hosing because of stiff regulations and low demand.

 

Member Berman inquired about the market potential for yacht users.  Mr. von Wedel explained that there is a large potential for yacht users because of increased awareness and reasonable cost.  An announcement was made that the opening boat season day is April 29, the last Sunday in April. 

 

6.      DISCUSSION:  Committee members and participants to invite to participate.

 

Member Bowen explained that there are two Committee seats open for voting members.  It was stated that there is a preference for City residents, but it is not a requirement.  It was determined that one Port representative would be sufficient and additional considerations would be from the (1) biodiesel community, e.g. biodiesel providers; (2) scientific community; and (3) an industry representative.  Member Bowen asked if Mr. von Wedel would be interested in serving as a member and suggested Mr. Tom Esher as a possibility.  Member Ving recommended Mr. Bill Foss and Ms. Terri Shore.  Other names mentioned included: a representative from General Petroleum, Mr. Nick Weber, San Francisco Petroleum, and Mr. Eric Johnson, BioFriendly. 

 

Public Comment:  Mr. von Wedel stated that he would be more effective as an outside advisor and recommended the individual who started the fuel dock in Sacramento.   Participant recommendations included additional representation from the Blue Water Network, Water Transit Authority, and Region 9 USEPA Clean Green Loading Program representative

 

Member Bowen stated that the process should start with meeting invitations to everyone that was mentioned to encourage them to participate in the process and then decide who should be a voting member at the January meeting. 

 

7.      DISCUSSION:  Next steps. 

 

Member Bowen discussed next steps that include:

 

·         Outreach to diesel users and providers of diesel on the Bay.

·         Port update on the Pier 80 location: status of San Francisco Petroleum’s lease with the Port and adding a biodiesel-fueling requirement.

·         Determine benefits of biodiesel in the marine environment.

 

11.  INFORMATION:  New Business

 

There was no new business discussed at this time.

 

12.  DISCUSSION:  Future Agenda Items. 

 

December agenda:  (1) Ms. Terri Shore, Blue Water Network update; (2) Region 9 USEPA update; (2) Detailed report from General Petroleum on their relationship with Golden Gate Petroleum and their consideration of biodiesel at Pier 47; (3) Status update of Pier 80 lease process, timeline and next steps; (4) Discussion of container ship air emissions clean up and their regulations. 

 

Public Comment:  January or February meeting agenda: Mr. von Wedel’s presentation on the EarthRace, a marine biodiesel boat that is going around the world.  The race starts on March 1, 2007 and (2) Air Resources Board CARB Policy.

 

Member Berman recommended that the Regional Water Control Board present a policy report.

 

13.  PUBLIC COMMENTS:  Members of the public may address the Task Force on matters that are within the Task Force’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  There was no public comment at this time.

 

14.  ADJOURNMENT.  The Biodiesel Access Task Force Marine Committee meeting adjourned at 12:10 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted by,

 

Monica Fish, Task Force Secretary

 

** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Task Force office, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., (2) upon request to the Task Force Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709 or via e-mail at Monica.Fish@sfgov.org, or (3) on the meeting website as attachments to the agendas or meeting minutes.

 

Adopted:  December 12, 2006

 

 

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