HHLA Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA) is taking part as an open-air laboratory for a German energy transition project, whereby its battery-operated automated guided vehicles (AGVs) will be recharged using surplus renewable generated energy.
In addition to its practical considerations, the project is bringing together businesses and research institutions to focus on the model’s commercial viability of using a battery administration system developed as part of BESIC (Battery Electric Heavy Goods Transports within the Intelligent Container Terminal Operation).
The system calculates the ideal charging times – in both ecological and economic terms – by exchanging data with Vattenfall’s load forecasting system and the CTA terminal management system.
HHLA, Terex Gottwald, which manufactures the AGVs, and Vattenfall have joined forces with the universities of Oldenburg, Göttingen and Clausthal. BESIC is being subsidised by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy as part of its technology competition ICT for E-mobility II – Smart Car – Smart Grid – Smart Traffic. ICT stands for information and communication technology. The project was rolled out in January 2013.
“The highly efficient HHLA Container Terminal Altenwerder is characterised by an advanced level of automation and electrification. We consistently use cost-cutting, environmentally friendly technology at this facility,” said Dr Stefan Behn, HHLA’s executive board member responsible for the container segment.
“Using eco-friendly technology is only truly sustainable if it costs less than conventional alternatives. I am confident that we can make successful use of surplus green power and reduce our energy costs as part of BESIC. With this project, we are bringing forward the energy transition. We are once again demonstrating that e-mobility makes sense both from an ecological point of view as well as an economic one,” he added.
Dr Mathias Dobner, managing director of Terex Port Solutions, said that the company is developing alternative systems using lighter batteries with a higher energy density and an intelligent battery administration system. “With this system, we would like to ensure that the batteries of the AGVs are charged when surplus green power is available in the grid,” he said.
Explaining that Vattenfall Innovation was linking future battery administration systems with load forecasting and terminal management systems to identify suitable charging windows, managing director, Dr Oliver Weinmann, added: “If we succeed in realising clear cost reductions with this intelligent charging strategy, other logistics applications could also benefit from it. In that case, we would develop a universal data standard based on the BESIC findings. This experience also gives us a real step forward as a system integrator for renewable energies in the market.”
As part of the project, standard diesel/electric automated guided vehicles are being compared with AGVs powered by conventional lead-acid batteries or by innovative lithium-ion technology. If the intelligent charging strategy significantly cuts operating costs, it could pave the way for heavy goods vehicles.