Autonomous container loading to cut port emissions

05 Sep 2017
CargoCat

CargoCat is a fully automated cargo ship that will use hydrogen fuel cell technology for loading and offloading

Autonomous container loading and offloading concepts that will cut emissions at ports are under development.

The CargoFlow concepts base operations on CargoCat, a RoRo vessel which may be either a monohull or multihull ship and CargoKitten, a smaller vessel delivering feeder operations between smaller ports and the service.

Dagfinn Aksnes, owner and CEO of Norway-based Seaway Innovations, which developed the technology and vessels alongside FluXXWorks, said the concepts have been modelled and proved through simulations that visualise the cargo flows, automation and the multimodal integration.

Zero emissions at ports

Loading and offloading will run on hydrogen with hydrogen fuel cell technology, meaning zero emissions both in ports and at sea.

Seaway Innovations intends for the hydrogen to be exclusively sourced from wind power in regions where wind is plentiful, primarily from curtailed wind. In tropical regions, it could come from solar.

As the ships produce their own electricity for loading, they will not need to use electricity supplied in port which may derive from coal or other carbon energy sources.

A container ship normally travels at 8-14 knots, but CargoCat, will travel at 15-20 knots with reduced fuel consumption.

The speed of operations reduces waiting times at ports allowing ships to maximise revenue at sea.

Automation technologies for cargo handling renders cranes and their high purchase and installation costs and expensive maintenance obsolete, said Seaway Innovations.

Revenue increase

As manning levels in port and onboard are significantly reduced, revenues will be increased and costs reduced for both ship owners and cargo owners, said board member Roald Toskedal.

Ship owners, cargo owners and ports are also expected to benefit as the process will transfer some volumes from road to sea, increase turnover for stakeholders and reducing emissions from diesel powered trucks.

Seaway Innovations and FluXXWorks are currently seeking partners, which could include ports, to help develop and test the technology.