Representatives from three major European ports spoke about their decarbonisation plans at Riviera’s Maritime Air Pollution, Europe virtual conference
Port of Hamburg director of shore power Hanno Bromeis said the port had identified shore power as the most effective way to address carbon emissions. Hamburg has a long-term clean air protection plan and has identified emissions hotspots in container and cruise vessel terminals.
Mr Bromeis said €10M (US$11.6M) had already been spent on shore power on one facility at Altona cruise terminal. The port plans to invest another €95M (US$110.6M) on shore power facilities at six more terminals serving cruise and container ships.
While the port’s long-term plan is achieving carbon neutrality by 2040, it hopes to reduce NOx emissions by 1,400 tonnes, SOx emissions by 25 tonnes, particulate matter by 9 tonnes, and CO2 emissions by 43,000 tonnes per year by 2025.
Meanwhile, the port of Helsinki is looking at 2035 as the year it achieves carbon neutrality. The head of sustainable development Andreas Slotte said the port hopes to achieve at least a 30% reduction in the CO2 emitted in harbour. This year, the port installed an OPS and plans to install one at its cruise terminal by 2023.
The next set of shore power systems is expected to be operational in 2021 to serve ferries transiting between Finland and Estonia.
Port of Valencia naval architect and marine engineer Raúl Cascajo said that the port currently lacks the power supply to ensure shore power on a large scale.
“We are just beginners” he said. “Our problem is that we don’t have enough power. The conditions mean that the port is kind of an ‘energy island’.” Currently, the port of Valencia receives medium voltage electricity from three different high- and medium-voltage electrical substations.
The port is taking proactive steps to increase energy generation – a 60-MW electric substation is set to be installed by 2023. And looking ahead, the port is exploring the possibility of generating more energy from renewable sources with plans for two photovoltaic power (PV) stations generating close to 8 MW and a wind power plant that generates 15 MW per year.
Mr Cascajo said close to 50 MW per year can be generated from renewables alone (against the port’s annual consumption of 70 MW). Alternative fuels are being used such as LNG for ferries. At present there is only one 550 kW OPS that feeds tugboats. Mr Cascajo said demand will drive further OPS implementation and hopes that the new container terminal due in 2025 and a cruise terminal in 2023 will drive the change.
The speakers had a mixed view of how shore power use might shape up. Mr Bromeis said that while cruise shipping has shown an appetite for shore power, container lines do not.
Agreeing with this view, Mr Slotte said “I don’t see it (shore power) as a silver bullet.” He added that he was unsure if making shore power mandatory would work considering the different situations ports find themselves in. Instead, he believes that demand throughout the value chain will drive the adoption of shore power.
Mr Bromeis expects large-scale adoption of shore power facilities by Chinese ports will drive the change. “Given my read on the EU decision making process, I think it might take a bit longer before there is widespread regulation on shore power” he said.
As to the question of developing shore power infrastructure, Mr Cascajo disagreed with the suggestion that port managing bodies should provide the necessary OPS infrastructure at berths. “Unless the regulatory framework changes, we (port managers) shouldn’t be the ones who make the investment on the infrastructure.” Rather it should be the terminal operators who are in control of the demand for such facilities but Mr Cascajo added that owners and terminal operators will need to be given incentives to make this happen.
Ports should not be complacent with the existing demand, explained Mr Slotte, but should be more attuned and respond to the likelihood for an increased demand. Rather than driving change, Mr Slotte believed ports should be agile in responding to these inevitable changes.
Mr Bromeis explained that the port of Hamburg’s investment was driven by the belief that market forces would not solve the problem.
“We believe that it is good to leave as many things as possible to the creativity of the industry in terms of solving issues. We need strong regulation and technology to implement solutions,” he concluded.
In his conclusion, Mr Slotte suggested another option, one that would not require investment in hybrid propulsion or onboard batteries. “Biofuels would be a good solution for tugs and does not need heavy technology or investment,” said Mr Slotte.
While the option remains distant, this year has seen major operators participate in biofuel trials and bunkering, notably in the port of Rotterdam.
Finally, Mr Cascajo said that while OPS is a potential answer to solving port decarbonisation issues, the energy supplied has to be clean otherwise it is a self-defeating exercise.