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CASTINE, Maine—Maine Maritime Academy has been awarded a University Transportation Center (UTC) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for $1,414,100 to develop a Marine Engine Testing and Emissions Laboratory (METEL). The DOT/UTC research grant is the largest received to date by Maine Maritime Academy and marks the first opportunity for the college to serve as lead research institution.
The new laboratory will be housed in the ABS Center for Engineering, Science and Research, a state-of-the-art facility to be built in the spring of 2014 on the Maine Maritime Academy campus. The laboratory will focus on the research and development of emissions reductions technologies and engine efficiency enhancement technologies for marine and related power plants. METEL will concentrate efforts on a number of DOT strategic goals, including the advancement of environmentally sustainable policies and investments that reduce carbon and other harmful emissions from transportation sources. METEL will integrate its efforts with the existing marine transportation education programs at the Academy, including marine systems engineering, marine transportation and international business and logistics.
“Maine Maritime Academy’s engineering and transportation education programs are addressing critical workforce needs,” said Academy President, Dr. William J. Brennan. “Our specialized programs, combined with our fully capable working waterfront, make it possible for students to be involved in hands-on research in these new technologies that have the potential for worldwide impact to the marine transportation sector. This is very exciting news for our students and faculty, and for the future of the college.”
The grant is one of 33 awarded to U.S. University Transportation Centers (UTCs). According to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, “The participating universities are a critical part of our national transportation strategy and to developing a professional workforce with the expertise and knowledge to tackle the challenges of the future.”
“This funding comes at an important time for the Maine Maritime Academy and the marine transportation industry. The Academy, in partnership with the University of Maine, has the knowledgebase needed to develop emissions reductions and efficiency solutions for marine diesel engines. This new investment will allow them to conduct this critical research and advance practical solutions for the maritime industry,” said Senator Susan Collins, Senator Angus King, and Representative Mike Michaud.
“With our academic collaborator, the University of Maine at Orono (UMaine), and commercial partners Sea Change Group LLC, Global Marine Solutions, and Thermoelectric Power Systems LLC, we are working to implement marine diesel engine performance and emissions-reduction improvements which are commercially viable and cost-effective,” said Dr. Richard Kimball, Professor of Engineering at Maine Maritime Academy and Project Director/Principal Investigator of METEL.
Research and development will address pressing needs of the marine industry pertaining to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) emissions regulations adopted for the maritime industry. “These regulations, especially in coastal and inland waterways, are difficult to meet with existing marine engines,” said Captain Robert Peacock II, Chair of the Maine Maritime Academy Board of Trustees and founder of Quoddy Pilots in Eastport. “Solutions are needed for Maine’s commercial fishing and shipping vessels to meet these standards. Our researchers, faculty, students, and partners from UMaine and commercial companies will work together to help Maine’s marine industries meet these standards.”
Maine Maritime Academy is a co-educational, public college on the coast of Maine offering 18 degree programs in engineering, management, science and transportation. The college’s job placement rate is over 90% of graduates employed in their fields within 90 days of graduation. For more information, visit mainemaritime.edu.