Creating green energy ports for the future

Sustainability and environmental protection are widely recognised as fundamental by international organisations, communities and port-cities. Just like  nation states, maritime organisations and the industry must adapt to stringent sulphur limits in fuel and greenhouse gas reduction goals. Indeed, and in alignment with recent regulations (IMO, EC), ports increasingly commit, through voluntary initiatives and specialised forums that, promote more efficient operations, air quality, GHG reduction and knowledge exchange (WPCI promoted by the IAPH and ESPO).

The third edition of the Green Energy Ports Conference was held in Vigo, Spain from the 27-29th of June. MarineTraffic joined EMSA, ESPO, and Partner Port representatives as well as, ship owners, consultancy firms and energy professionals who attended and participated in these vibrant and dedicated panels.

Following the opening session on Blue Growth Strategy and Blue Economy and mechanisms of Innovation led by the Port Authority of Vigo, full sessions were dedicated to more efficient operations and the implementation of green technologies in harbour areas. In these, both, LNG supply and its use in main and auxiliary engines and, On-shore Power Supply (OPS) were topics of shared enthusiasm and discussions.

During the event, Klaas Würzburg, Clean Energy Lab Manager at INOVA Labs, said One of the known benefits of the use of LNG is the considerable reduction of CO2 emissions. “Additionally and since there is no sulphur or nitrogen in its composition, gases containing Particulate Matter (PM), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) or Sulphur Oxides (SOx) are not produced by engine operations. Indeed, and although some ports already supply LNG through tankers that approach the ships, future demand might require on-site installations, as a deposit, and a supply chain by ship of land routes” Würzburg explained, after the “Natural Gas experience” session and the presentation of the CEF funded projects SamueLNG and CORE LNGas Hive.

Green Energy Ports Conference June 2017
Speaking, Julio de la Cueva, Spanish State Ports. Panel from left to right, Alberto Casals INOVA Labs, Mercedes Mella INOVA Labs, Santiago Yanez, Port Authority of Tenerife.

His colleague, Mercedes Mella, responsible for Spanish Ports in INOVA Labs, spoke about the many advantages of associated to the use of OPS systems in ships and at port. “Among them, the reduction of emission shares near densely populated areas and, the elimination of the noise produced by auxiliary engines, which generally operate while they are at berth. This can significantly improve, not only environmental aspects of shipping operations while at port but, the comfort of the passage on board “ Mella told the conference.  

In one of the last sessions, and after learning from the application of Green Technology and views on “Ports of the Future”, the Project Coordinator of the CEF funded project Master Plan for OPS in Spanish Ports Project, Julio de la Cueva, described the National strategy in Spain on ‘cold ironing’ by also disclosing details of the three pilot actions foreseen. This round table closed, after the contribution of Mella on the OPS potential in Spanish Ports, with the presentation by Santiago Yanes on the forthcoming operation of OPS technology in La Palma and La Gomera, Canary Islands.

“It is relevant to note that 70 percent of the calling to European and International Ports (container, ro-ro’s and ferries fleets), are obliged to connect the grid for OPS as, for instance, the Californian Environmental Authority set an emission reduction target yet for 2017 at 70 percent and up to 80 percent in 2020,” de la Cueva noted, after an interesting debate on the measure (followed by many) of requiring OPS as a berthing condition.

Green Energy Ports Conference – video produced and edited by INOVA labs

All sessions gathered relevant and international expertise on Green Energy Port matters. Also, interesting cases on ICT systems transmitting, receiving and managing information that contribute to efficient port terminal operations.

Attending the event on behalf of MarineTraffic was our Academic Relations Manager, Miluše Tichavska, who reported back on the benefits brought by vessel tracking technologies into operative analysis, and green energy studies in port terminals. “Most importantly, benefits brought to eco-efficiency performance, more refined indicators and efficient policy making. I must admit though, that I was not yet aware of the AIS as a tool to optimise electricity and lighting use in the berthing areas. This has been indeed, an excellent opportunity and experience to learn from green technologies and exchange views with Partners and peers such as Ecoports, Port of Los Angeles, Port of Hamburg, Port of Stockholm and Fraunhofer CML.”

The closing session of this fruitful event, took place in the Session Building of the Port Authority of Vigo. It included final insights of this relevant gathering, where key themes, challenges and green solutions were summarised and discussed.