Today’s port operators can no longer turn a blind eye to environmental legislation both domestically and internationally as they face increased pressure to reduce their carbon emissions. We have developed a smart tool that predicts the cost and benefits of deploying various energy storage solutions in container terminals – with the potential to create significant savings for ports all over the world.

Susports output data | Royal HaskoningDHV

Michael Banks explains, “Our innovative Energy and Emissions Management and Simulation Tool improves port efficiency both for future and existing ports. We know that rubber tyre gantry (RTG) cranes, which consume huge amounts of diesel each year, not only cost port operators a lot of money but also produce significant carbon emissions”.

In partnership with Carbon Reducing Energy Storage Solutions (CRESS), the University of Reading, and the Valenciaport Foundation, we focused our attentions on these high-cost and polluting RTG cranes. The tool we developed enables port operators to reduce the average RTG crane’s fuel consumption by up to 50 per cent. For a typical container terminal with around 90 RTGs, that equals a saving of around 4.5 million litres of diesel each year – enabling port operators to recoup fuel savings of around €2.7m.

Smart container terminal | Royal HaskoningDHV

A multi-national partnership

Michael continues “This was a really exciting project for us to be involved in. The University of Reading provided detailed modelling of energy flows around port grid supplies and crane systems. The opportunity was perfect for the University’s masters students – allowing them to work on a real project with real budgets and deadlines.

“Valenciaport Foundation provided access to container terminals for our pilot demonstrations. Having them on board allowed us to get a unique perspective as we progressed, from the people who manage ports day-to-day. That insight was invaluable to the whole team.”

Key to our success with this project was understanding our client’s objectives within the overall vision as we progressed. Our approach in doing this was to ensure that this wasn’t a purely desk-based team and regular face-to-face meetings were vital to reaching the right conclusions at various stages.

Checking digital plans | Royal HaskoningDHV

A tested and viable smart tool, built for the future

By populating the tool with the individual requirements of each container terminal we create a baseline energy use, enabling us to tailor it to each client. The tool then allows us to run a number of scenarios using different energy storage solutions in order to work out the best option for that individual terminal.

The project has already been praised by the funder of a container terminal in North Africa and we have begun conversations with various port operators in not only taking it further but potentially adapting the tool for other port equipment with similar problems. We believe in developing long-term relationships with our partners and clients and it’s clear that there is plenty of mileage in the development of this tool to change the way port operators improve energy efficiency in the future.