In January 2014, Royal HaskoningDHV embarked upon a three year pilot programme with two leading European container terminal operators to identify the application of energy storage solutions to allow more sustainable operations for Rubber Tyre Gantry (RTG) cranes. These solutions enable electrical energy to be captured, stored and re-used during a terminal’s operations.

As a key deliverable for this project, Royal HaskoningDHV has created an “Energy and Emissions Management & Simulation Tool”, an integrated computational model that quantifies energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions during the use of RTG cranes.

Ports under pressure

Annually, a vast fleet of RTG cranes handles hundreds of millions of containers in sea ports around the world. RTG cranes are a contributor to maritime port emissions and port operators are facing increasing pressure from regulators, clients and the surrounding community to reduce their impact on climate change and local air quality.

Add to this the potential impact of high fuel prices, and it’s no surprise that container terminals are keen to develop cost-effective solutions to reducing the impact which RTG cranes in particular have on their operations.

Improving sustainability of RTG operations in ports

Most RTGs are powered by large displacement diesel generators, expending a huge amount of energy as they move containers around the port 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The cranes lose energy when lowering containers and this energy is converted to heat and wasted as the containers are laid down – energy which could be captured and re-used when the next container is lifted.

Royal HaskoningDHV provided technical support, project management and development of an exploitation plan throughout the SusPorts pilot programme, working alongside a number of partners:

  • CRESS (Carbon Reducing Energy Storage Solutions) – for the development of flywheel-based energy storage systems
  • University of Reading – modelling of energy flows around port grid supplies and crane systems
  • Valenciaport Foundation – assisting terminals with energy reduction and emissions mitigation

Supporting port investment

As a result of the successful pilot programme, co-funded by the partners and the EU, Royal HaskoningDHV now offers an Energy and Emissions Management and Simulation Tool to help predict the cost and benefits associated with the deployment of energy storage solutions in container terminals. The tool integrates the fuel consumption and harmful air emissions (greenhouse gases, SOx, Nox, PM and others) resulting from the operations of a terminal required to process a certain container throughput.

For more information about the tool, view our flyer here.

We use the tool to devise a strategy to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions produced by RTGs. After quantifying fuel consumption and emissions we run a number of scenarios to give an indication on the terminal’s potential emissions savings as well as investment costs. Our service is designed to assist port operators with energy efficiency investment decisions by allowing them to make a quick and cost-effective assessment of a number of possible solutions prior to identifying the preferred option.

The Royal HaskoningDHV tool is also technology-agnostic, meaning that as we populate it with the individual requirements of a container terminal it will determine which technology is best for the particular situation, taking into account the local power, fuel and construction costs.

Ultimately, by using a combination of solutions – such as local harvesting, storage and reuse of surplus or RTG electrification – a container terminal could potentially reduce diesel use by up to 60%, and simultaneously mitigate its contribution towards climate change.