APM Terminals (APMT) Algeciras has increased the voltage of its power supply from 20kV to 66kV in an effort to improve the stability of its electrical supply and enhance safety and productivity by reducing the risk of outages.
The €3.2m (US$3.5m) project was designed and managed by the operator, with support from the port authority and Algeciras Polytechnic School (University of Cadiz).
The facility will now be able to take advantage of 100% of the energy regenerated by the cranes, in addition to monitoring the quality of the electricity supply – which comes from renewable sources – and consumption.
The increase in the voltage level will mean a 20% annual saving for the terminal, as well as an added value in terms of safety, because disruptions and sudden stops of the machinery will be reduced and the 20kV power line will be available as an auxiliary supply.
APMT Algeciras engineering coordinator, Juan Jesús Lara, said: “We have used the most efficient brands and an optimal design to avoid, for example, the use of electric pumps in the transformer pit. In addition, it is now possible to take advantage of 100% of the energy regenerated by the cranes.”
Engineering and procurement departments planned the project in three phases: a new 20mW substation in Isla Verde Exterior, three 4 km supply lines to terminal, and a new hub, which has been integrated into the container stacks.
The substation is supplied from the existing 66kV network in Isla Verde, which comes from the El Cañuelo substation. The 20kV power line remains as an emergency supply.
APMT Algeciras chief operating officer Jesús Cáceres, stated that the connection to 66kV marks “a milestone in the more than 30 years of the terminal’s life”, as it ends the possibility of suffering network disruptions and machinery stoppages.
It “looks to the future, with a new electrical network capable of supporting the latest generation of technologies in machinery,” he added.
Rather than a traditional ribbon cutting ceremony at the inauguration, a specially developed smartphone app was used to symbolically activate the change of network.