An ambitious project is currently under way at the HHLA Container Terminal Altenwerder to find out how the batteries of heavy goods vehicles can be charged exactly at the same time that there is a surplus of wind or solar power in the grid.
In order to determine the optimum time to charge the batteries of container transporters from an environmental and operational perspective, the HHLA Container Terminal Altenwerder, a subsidiary of the Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA), the Gottwald Port Technology GmbH (Gottwald) and Vattenfall have joined forces with the universities of Oldenburg, Göttingen and Clausthal, which are coordinated by the Energy Research Centre of Lower Saxony (EFZN). The comprehensive research project BESIC (Battery Electric Heavy Goods Transports within the Intelligent Container Terminal Operation) is subsidised by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology in the amount of around € 10.4 million.
This idea is based on an award-winning project: The HHLA Container Terminal Altenwerder and Gottwald, which now belongs to Terex Port Solutions, received the renowned sustainability award Hanse Globe 2011 for the development of battery operated vehicles that transport containers24 hours a day at the terminal. Now, within the framework of the BESIC project, the charging station developed for the battery operated vehicles should begin charging the batteries when there is a particularly large amount of electricity from renewable sources provided in the grid. In this way, wind or solar power generated at peak times (peak power) could be used if there is a temporary surplus available.
Sites near the coast such as port terminals are particularly well suited to harness wind power. In addition to this, the batteries of the automated guided vehicles (AGVs) could be used as a buffer for peak power. Among other things, the project is investigating the possibility of coordinating charging times with the terminal’s operating requirements and the peak loads of the electricity grid. To this end, a battery management system is being developed which determines suitable charging times from the exchange of data between Vattenfall’s load forecasting systems and the terminal management system of the HHLA Container Terminal Altenwerder.
The innovative integration of the electrical grid and operational requirements of battery operated AGVs using information and communication technology constitutes the focus of the joint project BESIC. As part of the technology competition “ICT for E-mobility II – Smart Car – Smart Grid – Smart Traffic”, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology started to subsidise BESIC’s undertaking in January 2013 and will continue to do so for a period of three years until December 2015. The participating companies include HHLA, Gottwald and Vattenfall, as well as the Universities of Oldenburg, Göttingen and Clausthal coordinated by the Energy Research Centre of Lower Saxony (EFZN).
Both the practical feasibility and the commercial viability of such a model are examined. Conventional diesel/electric AGVs are compared to AGVs that are powered by conventional battery technology or an innovative energy storage system. If such an intelligent charging strategy leads to clear savings in operating costs, it may well pave the way for such technology to be used in many related areas, for instance to run electric buses in the public transport network, conveyor vehicles in warehouses or battery operated apron vehicles at airports.