January 26, 2023: The Port Energy Systems Optimization (PESO) demonstration project integrating a lead-lithium battery combination into a microgrid at Portsmouth International Port in the UK came to a close at the end of December. It looks set to be a template for further development.
The project aim was the creation of a microgrid that would decarbonize some of the port’s activities, powered by renewables, in a cost-effective manner.
The novel dual-chemistry battery that would underpin the energy storage required was designed and supplied to the port by GS Yuasa. The Gemini battery system was invented by project manager Peter Stevenson. The prototype 100kW dual-chemistry battery uses lithium-ion for rapid response and lead for longer duration discharge, economy and recyclability. The Gemini system achieves this with just one AC-DC converter, which works for both types of cell.
This is a radical improvement on other multi-chemistry batteries that need different AC-DC converters for each cell type.
“This was one of our early projects using this technique,” Stevenson, told BESB, “we are now adapting this model to integrate with more complicated sources of energy in particular combined heat and power.”
One of the overall aims of the project was to show how this could be done more cost-effectively than a standard approach — and thus provide a template for other projects and organizations.
“We’ve had good results — and look to be at least 5% better than other comparables,” says Anthony Price, head of Swanbarton, the consultancy that provided the control system to regulate operations.
The control system includes an AI-based capability that learns from historic energy consumption profiles to ensure that the battery can deliver as much energy as possible when demand is high.
The technology has been extended further by engineering a predictive digital twin model that can ensure the battery has storage capacity to fully use energy generated by on-site renewable generation or procured from the grid at times of low price.
The control system needs to be smart about when the battery charges and when it discharges, selecting from many millions of possible charge-discharge patterns every hour and forecasting the port’s balance of energy consumption and generation over several days.
The project, co-funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, has shown how port infrastructure can meet the UK government’s ‘Clean Maritime Plan’ challenges cost effectively shows how ports can use smart grid technology and energy storage to decarbonize their activities,
“The project has shown that PESO technology can offer value to a wide range of ports. The prime ‘early adopter’ ports are likely to be in locations where vessels are obliged imminently to electrify to comply with policy developments in carbon emissions and air quality,” says a joint statement made by Portsmouth International Port, working with Swanbarton, ESC and MSE International
“Examples include passenger ferries and water taxis operating in cities where traditional fossil-fuelled combustion engines are not permitted. Terminals and recharging sites will be required and PESO has a critical role to play in minimizing costly impacts on the local grid.
“It does this by smoothing the power demand of the recharging sites and by prioritizing as much power draw as possible at times of excess capacity in the grid such as night time.”
The energy stored in PESO can then be made available to vessels when needed.
Another opportunity could come from the growing take-up of all-electric leisure boats. These will need to access recharging facilities and it will be important for marina operators to ensure that popular recharging times (for example at weekends in summer) do not overload the grid connection capacity. PESO can help do this. It could also minimize the cost of energy to the marina.
Ports have not traditionally been required to manage energy resources in this way. “PESO has explored a range of business models that may offer practical ways forward for ports to take on this role,” says the statement.
“The value proposition for PESO can be strengthened significantly by exploiting the market for provision of balancing services to the grid and distribution networks. Infrastructure for storing and discharging significant amounts of energy to help balance the electricity network is increasingly in demand, and ports can become suppliers into this market.”
Although PESO has shown there is a future for this technology in the ports and shipping sector, there remain barriers to overcome.
These include: the high cost of battery storage; the need to collaborate more widely along the value chain for maritime logistics; policy developments on electricity pricing and public investment in the transmission and distribution networks will have a major impact on the PESO proposition to ports. Increasing clarity on such policy development is needed urgently.
The PESO consortium says it is actively working on a range of actions to advance the commercial deployment of PESO during 2023.
Mike Sellers, port director said: “Our aim is to turn the port into a living laboratory of green technology. Combined with other sustainability initiatives, the findings from the PESO project will help us achieve our ambition of reaching net-carbon zero by 2030, and becoming one of the UK’s first zero emission ports by 2050.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Portsmouth International Port/Strong Island Media