Accelerating the green transition

A large number of Port Esbjerg’s green initiatives have moved from the drawing board to reality. The first mobile shore-to-ship power connection will be inaugurated shortly, and the major carbon emissions monitoring system can now identify the consumption of every individual power socket. “Best of all, the green transition is driven by market forces and not political pressure,” says Port Esbjerg’s CCO.

No less than 1,200 green and red dots on a monitoring screen at Port Esbjerg’s offices help ensure that Port Esbjerg stays committed to reducing its carbon emissions.

We’ll get back to that.

For a number of years, Port Esbjerg has worked towards becoming a greener port, reducing its carbon emissions as much as possible and making its energy consumption greener.

That kind of work is rarely implemented overnight. However, many of the initiatives now take more concrete form.

The technologies required to providing major shore-to-ship power connections are now in place and ships can connect to the power supply. Thus, the port’s first mobile shore-to-ship power connection will be inaugurated shortly. This means that ships prepared for shore-to-ship power and calling at the port can change from electric generators based on fossil fuels to green electricity. Ships that are docked need power 24/7 for their pumps, monitoring systems, ventilation and crew facilities, among other things.

CO2, NOx and SOx emissions are reduced by connecting the ships to the mobile shore-to-ship power supply.

The port must continue to make major investments, but calculations show that in an increasing number of cases, shore-to-ship power solutions can be competitively priced compared to the costs of using the ship’s own generators when the ship is docked at the quay.

“This is a good solution for both the ports and the shipping companies. That’s why we’re seeing growing interest among our customers,” says Jesper Bank, CCO at Port Esbjerg.

Platform Supply and Service Vessels (PSVs) plying between the port and the Danish oil and gas fields are among the first ships to use the large shore-to-ship power connections.

The environmental gain is obvious, as emissions will be reduced. Moreover, noise from the ships may also be reduced as the ships can turn off their generators when they are docked at the quay.

More shore-to-ship power connections to come

More shore-to-ship power connections are to come and will be established in close dialogue with other major energy consumers at the port. The idea is to enable installation vessels from the offshore wind turbine industry to connect to the power supply. A shore-to-ship power connection will also be established at the quay where drilling rigs are docked.

“Many small ships have been able to connect to the shore-to-ship power supply via our quay power sockets for many years. In the near future, we’ll also be supplying power to the very large ships consuming large volumes of energy. We’re talking huge investments and we’re now starting to see the effect,” says Bank.

More shore-to-ship power connections are to come and will be established in close dialogue with other major energy consumers at the port. Photo: Port Esbjerg.

The world’s most advanced carbon emissions monitoring at a port

Let’s get back to the 1,200 green and red dots on the monitoring screen.

In addition to the shore-to-ship power solution, another project is really starting to come together; the carbon emissions monitoring system launched by Port Esbjerg in collaboration with technology giant Honeywell. Honeywell is a global leader in measuring and managing digital transformation for cities and airports working to become greener and smarter.

Honeywell has developed a complete system for managing and monitoring resources, energy consumption and carbon emissions at the port. This solution is a global first for ports anywhere in the world.

With the monitoring system that is now widely used, it is possible to monitor the resource consumption of every individual power socket by way of 1,200 measurement points at the port.

If consumption changes significantly, the system sends a message to the port office and highlights the area in red on the monitoring screen. Actually, the screen will show if somebody forgot to turn off the lights before going home in the afternoon.

Thus, any abnormalities are identified immediately, meaning action may be taken.

Overview of ships

At the same time, Port Esbjerg will get an overview of the ships calling at the port. All ships are registered in ship registers stating engine size, type of generator and power consumption. As it is known in advance when ships are calling at and departing the port, the system can calculate the energy consumption and carbon emissions of the individual ship at a specific quay.

To date, 1,000 ships have been registered in the system. The port has also records stating which ships were docked at the port – and for how long – in 2019 and 2020. This means that the system can make backwards calculations of carbon emissions.

“We’re close to having the calculations for port calls in place. This means that we can map the carbon emissions of each port section and of the entire port. We’ll also be able to regenerate the data for the two previous years. This provides a good basis for monitoring the developments year by year,” says Rasmus Ager.

Ager is an engineer at Port Esbjerg and keeps a close eye on the 1,200 dots on the monitoring screen. The port is divided into five different sections on the screen, e.g. Sønderhavnen and Trafikhavnen.

If he clicks the screen, he can see a top view of the port. The green and red dots represent measurement points. Each dot has been given a value, which is the port’s emission target for this individual measurement point.

The redder the dots, the larger the emissions.

When Ager clicks a red dot, the dot expands. If the dot represents a ship, the dot can be changed into a pie chart. The more the ship emits, the larger the circle.

“This gives us an overview that we haven’t had before. In addition, the monitoring system enables us to prioritise our efforts to obtain the greatest possible effect in relation to carbon emissions,” he says.

Next step: water, heating and businesses

The next step for Port Esbjerg is to register all consumption in the system, including water and heating. This will, for example, aid the discovery of any leaking water pipes. Steps have already been taken and the new feature is expected to be integrated within a year.

Port Esbjerg is in talks with the businesses at the port that can also use the system to monitor their own resource consumption and map their carbon emissions.

These businesses are working at full speed towards the green transition, at their own initiative. For example: new builds in the area use solar panels, heat pumps are installed, carbon neutrality is required in many new build tenders put out by the businesses and much more.

Previous efforts were mere “pinpricks” in terms of scale and certainly more project-oriented. It has now become a way of working at Port Esbjerg.

Bank finds it important that the green activities are largely market-driven:

“All these efforts aren’t a result of political pressure, they are based on market demands, and this offers momentum. This applies to us and the businesses at the port. That’s why I think we’ll see continued strong developments,” says Bank.

According to Bank, Port Esbjerg cannot just reduce the carbon footprint and do it faster thanks to Honeywell’s new system. However, it will be able to do it in a way that makes sound business sense.

“If it meant we’d incur higher costs, it would be to the detriment of our customers at the end of the day, and that wouldn’t be fair. This way, we’re making the port more attractive by facilitating the green transition while also staying open for business,” explains Bank.

Electric vehicles and hydrogen cranes

Electric vehicles also form part of the green transition at Port Esbjerg and three new vehicles just arrived. They are numbers nine, ten and eleven of the electric vehicles at the port, which has a total of twenty passenger cars and vans. All of the vans are electric and with the recent three acquisitions, more than half of the passenger cars are now electric vehicles. The target is for all vehicles to be powered by electricity by 2025.

Moreover, several projects with even greater potential are in the pipeline but cannot be revealed yet. Bank is very confident when considering the overall situation, not least because the green transition has become a way of working.

“We don’t make any major decisions at Port Esbjerg without incorporating the green transition. We have waste sorting and don’t throw anything out. We monitor our resource consumption. We invest in green power solutions for ships. The businesses build carbon-neutral buildings. That’s how we’re now accelerating the green transition at Port Esbjerg,” concludes Bank.

Electric vehicles also form part of the green transition at Port Esbjerg and three new vehicles just arrived. Photo: Port Esbjerg.
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