Originally published in HR E-Zine 3/2018 on page 17.
"Undoubtedly, electrification and sustainability are moving up in the agenda for container terminals: this was the clear outcome amongst several discussions held during the Clean Technology session of Tech Toc seminar. If we look back a couple of decades, the port industry used to rely on heavy diesel-powered equipment, while electricity consumption in terminals was kept as a minimum for buildings, lighting and warehouses power supply only.
Technological evolution, with the introduction of new consumers, such as electric cranes, shore-to-ship power and e-mobility solution for both passengers and goods transportation "forced" ports to become energy hubs, with the additional opportunity of becoming greener through the local implementation of renewable electricity production such as wind farms and photovoltaic generation.
Balancing new demand and supply of electricity is therefore becoming a challenge for container terminals and, in order to achieve this goal, state-of-the-art port electrification solutions are now made available by technology providers where an optimal dimensioning of the power infrastructure is key to achieve the highest level of energy efficiency in a competitive market environment.
Amongst the new solutions that can be implemented, specifically in brownfield terminals where available space for power upgrades is typically very limited, digital substations will be key to reduce the required cost and footprint for port grid connections to a minimum by enabling up to 50% of space savings compared to a traditional design.
In addition to port electrical needs, shore-to-ship power is now perceived as a key element for a greener container terminal, in view of the fact that global policies and regulation are under implementation to reduce the environmental impact of the whole maritime industry, thus moving again terminal sustainability to the top of the agenda.
For ABB, a leading shore-to-ship power technology provider, Tech Toc seminar was a great opportunity to introduce a new concept for shore-to-ship power installations in container terminals where, taking into consideration the contemporaneity factor (number of vessels to be connected to shore power at the same time) and the utilization factor (average power consumption per vessel), an optimized solution in terms of capital expenditures can be implemented.
Leveraging on ABB's static frequency converter enhanced portfolio, capable to deliver up to 24 MVA per device, a new concept with a centralized shore-to-ship substation capable to supply multiple container vessels at the same time has been developed. Opposed to the traditional approach, where each vessel used to have a dedicated shore-to-ship power connection, cost savings up to 25% can be easily achieved during the project execution phase. Additionally, the optimized number of components used, as well as the high efficiency level of water cooled static frequency converter devices, will decrease the total cost of ownership of the facility.
When it comes to building a safer, greener and more productive container terminal we therefore need to consider that sustainable development in ports is now a must and a thorough analysis of each specific port needs is required to achieve an optimum balance of costs and benefits. The role of technology providers like ABB is key to remove barriers towards the large-scale implementation of shore-to-ship power and port electrification solutions, where the final goal is to realize a stronger, smarter and greener port grid."