11 Dec 2019

Renewable microgrids for Ports. IMO 2020 are you ready?

  • Written By

    Marcus Saul

  • Published in

Renewable microgrids for Ports: IMO 2020 and beyond

The flow of global trade is increasing and so too is the demand for greener sources to power the ships, planes and cranes that deliver services and goods throughout the world. January 1st, 2020 will be a ‘sea change’ for the shipping industry, ushering in a new standard for ultra-low emissions. It will limit the ability for vessels to burn fuel with a sulphur content more than 0.50% m/m against the current limit of 3.50% m/m.

So, what does this mean for shipping ports? And, what do emission targets and ‘go green’ objectives mean for ports as well?

Aggreko is uniquely placed to help vessel and air and seaport owners achieve their 2020 renewable and financial objectives – and beyond. The ability to integrate ‘flexibility’ into your grid upgrades can save the port money in the future by minimising downtime and disruption and achieve operational targets by planning ahead.

Our blog below summarises the key points below and how microgrids can support;

• Cold and hot ironing (stacking)
• Electric transportation
• Renewables integration
• Microgrid development


Ports are open to different types of shipping, from ferries and cruise liners through to oil tankers and freight. With IMO 2020, the ability for a ship to use its engines and consume costly fuel while in port will be stopped. This means that ships will have to rely on an already stretched port electrical infrastructure. The ‘hack’ of utilising temporary diesel generation; often because gas supply is limited in certain ports, will no longer be an option.

This leaves some ports having to invest in expensive infrastructure upgrades.

But how do you size for the immediate need for quayside power when your demand will only increase with the introduction of electric vessels?

And, when you need portside power from existing customers? The planning and capital required to accommodate these options is immense. But it doesn’t have to be.

Our Y.Cube, a mobile ‘all-in-one’ Lithium-Ion system, will enable ports to provide quayside power for the rapid charging of ferries and vessels while minimising the use of valuable real estate.

The Y.Cube’s ability to integrate onsite renewables, existing generation and the grid provides an excellent bridging technology, allowing port and vessel owners the ability to benefit from a rapid upgrade.

This will help to avoid costly investment in permanent storage solutions that will rapidly become obsolete.

What’s more, cold and hot stacking (a process of maintaining the condition of a vessel when it is not in operation) can benefit from battery storage solutions. This can be done either by supporting the grid, or directly feeding the ship for its primary conditioning power.


Energy infrastructure in ports can rely on multiple energy vectors, from LPG through to renewables. As ports have grown over time, so too have their energy requirements. This has meant the introduction of different energy solutions, from Combined Cycle turbines through anaerobic digestion, wind and solar along with greater pull from the grid.

This can lead to inefficiencies in the system, with unpredictable demand and supply. We are experienced in balancing local grids however, using our portfolio of power in addition to our Y.Cube.

Often, renewable integration may result in losses as peak renewable energy production may not match peak energy demand. Our battery system will enable the port to smooth out energy supply over a period. There’s also the introduction of electric vehicles and the toll that they may have on ports demand to take into consideration.


Aggreko can provide dynamic microgrid solutions, integrating batteries with your existing renewables and grid generation. What is unique with our solution is our ability to adapt to your power demand needs with different energy solutions, from LNG, LPG and diesel through to solar, wind and batteries.

All brought together in a solution that is cost effective and dynamic.

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