maritime December 2018

Shedding light on energy-saving ports

Ports can slash energy costs by adopting an effective energy management program, with smart illumination sensors at major facilities across Europe and beyond helping to provide a range of valuable benefits to operators.

The systems, which light up only when vehicles or people are in close vicinity, have been transformational at a number of ports that have embraced connected technologies.

For example, according to BCG, such a system has helped to cut energy consumption by 80% at the Port of Valencia, which in October announced that it would be expanding its smart approach with an increasing focus on blockchain and big data technologies.

Big data

By applying cloud-based technologies, Jose Garcia De La Guia, who is responsible for implementing the new technologies at the port, said that the aim would be to improve logistics and establish a “port without papers”.

A similar lighting system at the Port of Hamburg is also having a positive impact, while Moerdijk, the home of the fourth largest port in the Netherlands, has similar cost-saving expectations after equipping 1,100 LED street lights with motion sensors.

There are numerous benefits of adopting such technologies, aside from reduced energy consumption.

With the LED lighting lasting longer due to the smart sensors, maintenance costs can be reduced dramatically, as experienced at locations such as Port Metro Vancouver in Canada.

In addition, there is improved safety for all of those working on site – and not just those responsible for repairing and replacing lighting on floodlights, often at great heights.

To complete the picture in a port such as Hamburg, real-time data on moving infrastructure is also collected, so maintenance teams can predict and prepare for repairs at facilities like the famous Kattwyk Lifting Bridge, which is one of the longest in Europe.

Energy efficiencies

With more reliable lighting at ports, which often operate for 24 hours per day, logistical efficiencies will be maximized, thanks to reduced downtime.

“Increasingly it is important to consider wider environmental aspects and energy use, for example incorporating the use of sensors to dim or switch off lighting in areas not in use into the lighting design,” UK-based Port Skills and Safety stated in its most recent report on lighting, published in February 2018. The company, which advises ports on safety, recommends reassessing lighting levels at least every five years.

Meanwhile, according to a white paper from the Port Equipment Manufacturers Association, although the initial cost of installing newer lighting technologies is typically higher than traditional lighting options, energy savings can amount to between 55 and 60 per cent, while maintenance costs can fall by up to 90 per cent.

For ports that wish to reduce costs, save energy, improve safety measures and enhance logistical efficiencies by increasing operational capacities, illumination sensors provide a smart solution.

Back to GeoSpock Blog