The Port of Barcelona, APM Terminals (APMT) Barcelona, HAM and Naturgy have concluded a pilot to test the viability of natural gas as a fuel in port equipment, converting a straddle carrier to natural gas.
In the project, which was co-financed by the EU, the results were positive, with a certified reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, specifically CO and CO2, compared to diesel-powered machines.
On the test bench, fuel consumption reduced by 11%, which could provide an economic boost for the transformation or purchase of new gas-powered machines.
Total hydrocarbon emissions were also reduced through the use of natural gas, according to tests carried out with the straddle carrier.
To achieve a reduction in nitrogen oxides, the tests concluded that the installation of catalytic converters is required.
For the straddle carrier adaption project, Idiada, a leading Catalan multinational in the sector of engineering and homologation for the automotive sector, was responsible for modifying the diesel engine for use with natural gas.
This involved machining the cylinder head and cylinders, installing gas injectors and changing electronics and engine sensors.
Tests, carried out on Idiada Powertrain’s test bench and at APMT Barcelona’s facilities, verified that engines converted to 100% natural gas could provide the required performance while producing lower emissions.
Idiada carried out emissions measurement tests using a Portable Emissions Measurement System.
APMT Barcelona was in charge of the assembly and commissioning of the converted straddle carrier.
The main challenge for the pilot was to ensure that it didn’t disturb ongoing operations at the terminal and did not increase safety risks for port workers.
The terminal carried out a number of risk studies to determine the feasibility of using natural gas and the implmentation of safety measures, such as maintaining a distance of 25 m during LNG refuelling.
The machine was able operate within the terminal’s normal operations, with similar autonomy to diesel.
HAM installed a 600-litre LNG tank and a piping system to feed the converted engine, enabling LNG refuelling using a new mobile refuelling station, developed to operate in different locations in accordance with all safety measures.
Naturgy carried out an LNG supply logistics study, both from a technical and economic point of view, focusing on the different supply alternatives for terminal equipment, as such equipment cannot simply drive to the nearest gas station.
The most viable option was the use of a mobile station developed by HAM.
The Port of Barcelona coordinated the project, both technically and financially, and carried out the safety studies. Reducing pollutant emissions and greenhouse gases by 100% by 2050, is one of the port’s priorities.