Ships need ports

Posted on May 28, 2020
Ships need ports

As a maritime nation, we depend on our port infrastructure. Ports are major users of energy, for operating dockside handling facilities, and powering the port’s vessels, such as pilot craft and tugs. In addition, ships usually use their own engines when moored to power their onboard facilities, which on a cruise liner are very extensive. Under pressure to improve air quality and reduce their carbon footprint, ports are trying to reduce their use of fossil fuels, and to use electricity instead. This puts additional load on their connection to the electricity network, which often requires expensive reinforcement. Some ports are attempting to meet their electricity demand by on site generation, for example, putting solar panels on the large roof areas in ports. But ports operate 24/7 so their peak load does not always match peak generation.

As part of the national zero carbon ambition, we need to look at ways of decarbonising ports. Portsmouth International Port is a major UK Port carrying around 3.8 million tonnes of cargo per annum. The port has a strong social responsibility and an ambitious programme of investment to meet the challenge of decarbonisation and reduction of emissions. Swanbarton, working with Marine South East, Portsmouth International Port and the Energy Systems Catapult, is working on the PESO project, co-funded by Innovate UK, the UK ‘s Innovation Agency. The project will show how ports can use smart grid technology and sophisticated energy management software to reduce atmospheric emissions and improve air quality whilst optimising energy costs. The project partners will integrate local energy generation, novel energy storage and smart energy management in order to demonstrate how ports can meet emerging on shore power demands and the requirements of ships.

The PESO project will consist of three areas of innovation: the design and construction of a novel dual chemistry battery technology; advanced management software to optimise energy generation and storage; and the development of smart grid port infrastructure.