➜ El Vigía
The quest for new energy sources to replace fossil fuels is accelerating. Although many ports have already created the first systems for LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) for ships, many argue that hydrogen could be the ultimate solutions for the energy transition. The most recent project joining this chase has been announced in the port of Oostende (Belgium). A consortium formed by the port authority, DEME Concessions and PMV plans to build a new plant to produce green hydrogen using renewable energy. The plant would save between 500k and 1 million tons of CO2 per year. The project also includes an offshore wind farm including 399 turbines with a total capacity of 2,26 GW. Other port cities in Europe are also developing different initiatives in the same direction. The port of Antwerp, also in Belgium, already ordered tug boats and passengers ferry using hydrogen technology. Hamburg (Germany), announced last year its plans to build the world’s largest hydrogen electrolysis plant in port, with a capacity of 100 megawatts. The port of Valencia (Spain), is also active in this field, with the project H2PORT, including port equipment powered by hydrogen. However, we cannot forget there is no silver bullet for the energy transition. This ambitious goal will require diversifying our energy sources and optimizing our consumption.
Many ports worldwide are changing their illumination solutions for new technology that is more energy efficient. The port of Helsinki (Finalnd) deployed during 2019 their new system that is easier and more flexible to use. This system facilitates a smarter management, saving euros and CO2. Now the port terminal lighting is automated and can adapt better to the different usage of the space. In the Port of Bilbao (Spain), the new lighting system saves up to 50% of the energy from the previous one. The new LED technology and smart management system is more flexible and has also improved the comfort of the workers. The port of Gijón, also in Spain will receive new financing to improve the lighting, following the same scheme. In the case of Lisbon (Portugal), on the main terminal recently changed as well to LED lighting system, saving up to 13 426 kg CO2 per year. We can find examples worldwide such as the case of Vancouver (Canada), where new industrial facilities in the port also implementing new systems using LED and movement sensors. Or the case of San Antonio in Chile, where the new headquarters of the port will save up to 44% of its energy demands for lighting. These initiatives may not be as revolutionary as other complex projects introducing new fuels or energy sources, but they are gradually implementing energy savings and reducing the carbon footprint of the ports.
Several European ports have presented their plans to reduce their carbon footprint in the coming years. The port of Helsinki (Finland), drafted the Carbon-Neutral Port 2035 including 50 measures, mostly destined to reduce the port’s emissions and those from vessels. These measures combine reducing the energy usage, acquiring energy from carbon-neutral sources and carbon offsets to compensate the remaining emissions. One example of the actions to be taken is the new price list for port operations, including significant “environmental” discounts. The port of Amsterdam (The Netherlands) is even more ambitious, aiming at carbon neutrality in 2030. Its priority is to boost clean energy production at port, such as the new project to generate hydrogen using electrolysis. Amsterdam port is also developing maritime wind energy fields. In Hamburg (Germany), the main terminal operator HHLA, wants to become carbon neutral by 2040, by using green electricity for all its operations. The company already reduced the CO2 emissions of container operations by 30% in 2019, aiming at 50% until 2030. The main challenge will be in the future to make the complete logistic chain carbon neutral.