Decarbonising port environments - what can be done?
TT Club longtime Member PD Ports are a UK ports and logistics business with 12 sites across England ranging from Hartlepool in the North to the Isle of Wight in the South, and is part of the Canadian company Brookfield Asset Management Inc. $600 billion portfolio, which extends to over 30 countries across the globe.
PD Ports’ CEO Frans Calje set the challenge back in 2019 for their Tees-based operations to be carbon neutral by 2027; so far, CO2 emissions are already back to levels last seen in 2000 and are aiming to be the UK's most sustainable port company. With decarbonisation being such a prominent and important part of the agenda to be the UK’s most sustainable port company they have been working tirelessly to transition to clean energy sources to power their operation.
Figure 1 - PD Ports' carbon reduction goals
Transition success in practice
PD Ports’ first action was to look at alternative fuel sources and introduce Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) as an alternative to regular diesel. The use of HVO results in a 90% reduction in permanent CO2 emitted to the atmosphere when compared to regular diesel. By end of Q1 2023, they had successfully converted 80% of their compatible assets across Tees and Hartlepool to HVO, which included container handlers, terminal tractors, loading shovels and forklifts. The remainder of those assets, with the capability to be converted, will be done so by the end of Q2 this year.
Accelerating their commitment, in 2022 they concluded a £2m investment in a wider electrification process that saw four diesel-driven Rubber-Tyre-Gantry-Cranes (RTG’s) at Tees Dock converted to electric power. Building on the three fully electric cranes had already been procured, this now means that 70% of their fleet is powered by renewable electricity. The remaining three cranes will be converted in 2024, resulting in an average saving of 700 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year compared to diesel.
By end of Q1 2023, they had successfully converted 80% of their compatible assets across Tees and Hartlepool to HVO
- 97 assets across Tees and Hartlepool operations are to be converted to use HVO biodiesel as fuel.
- 64 of these assets have been converted as of March 2023 (80% complete).
- HVO burning results in a 90% reduction in permanent CO2 emitted to the atmosphere compared to regular diesel used previously.
- Assets converted include: container handlers, terminal tractors, loading shovels and forklifts.
- Five electric vehicles now in operation across Tees Dock and Conservancy.
- By end of 2023, 9 out of 10 of the RTG's fleet will be fully electrified. Three diesel-powered cranes will be converted to complete the fleet and offer an average reduction of around 700 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.
- Two new fully electric mobile harbour cranes are now in operation.
- £23M investment made in the procurement of the most advanced custom built dredger in the UK. Arriving in 2024 the vessel has HVO electric hybrid technology as well as high level methanol and ethanol fuel readiness.
Decarbonising port operations is not an insurmountable task especially when assets are still within their expected service life. However, the approach and examples above shown by PD Ports gives some valuable insight into practical examples of modifying existing assets, fuel transition and procurement strategy to move your port operation over to more environmentally sustainable solutions.
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