Zuidnatie Terminal

A power bank for ships? Belgium’s terminal says, ‘Why not?’

A pilot project was launched at Zuidnatie’s terminal in Antwerp in which shore power was connected to the ocean-going vessel UAL Osprey, an ocean going vessel owned by UK-based shipping company Carisbrooke Shipping, by means of a Zenobē battery. This makes Zuidnatie the first terminal in Belgium to test shore power in this way on a seagoing vessel.

The pilot project was realised together with UAL, the shipping company and long-time partner of Zuidnatie. Zenobē, a partner in energy storage and fleet electrification, is leading the project.

“During this pioneering effort, shore power was seamlessly connected to Carisbrooke’s ocean-going vessel, the UAL Osprey, utilizing cutting-edge technology in the form of a portable power-bank provided by Zenobē. This milestone event not only represents a significant achievement for Belgium but also sets a global precedent as the first of its kind for vessels in this class,” Carisbrooke Shipping said.

The UK shipowner is trialing several innovative solutions on board its vessels as part of its decarbonization efforts including solar cells and hydrogen-powered engines.

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Seagoing ships use their own generators to generate electricity when sailing or stationary, but running diesel engines in port is unnecessarily environmentally damaging. In the near future, such ships will be required to power themselves without using fossil fuels, also known as cold ironing.  However, the necessary infrastructure to connect directly to the electricity grid is not available everywhere. As such a mobile battery could be a solution for this.

In the pilot project, Zenobē used a second-life battery, also known as a Powerskid: a battery used in a previous life to power electric buses. Zenobē is ensuring that the battery gets a second life thanks to this project, ensuring the battery minerals are used for as long as possible.

The aim of the project is to collect measured data on consumption and consumption peaks, something that has not yet been researched. Zenobē chose a 150 kWh Powerskid, backed up by 2 generators, to capture and record the unprecedented peaks. In a second phase, the battery will be scaled up and these additional generators will no longer be needed. The battery will then be powered by Zuidnatie’s PV plant. The delivered voltage will be 400 volts and the energy will be brought on board by means of a cable package.

“The collaboration with Zenobē stemmed from a chance meeting with our Managing Director Stéphanie Feys and a delegate from VIL during a networking event. An exploratory conversation around green energy took place and since then we have been in contact with Zenobē for several projects, including this one. The big test finally took place yesterday afternoon (September 13) and the first impressions are very positive. The test brings us another step closer to a green future, which we as a company are striving so hard for,” Robby Van Bunder, CTO Zuidnatie, said.

“Ports are ready to decarbonise and the technology is available today. With this pilot project at Zuidnatie and the Port of Antwerp, Zenobe is proving that batteries can support the path to net zero in port operations. With our most recent capital increase, Zenobe is well placed to support the Green Deal and the greening of all elements of port operations,” Steven Meersman, Founder/Director Zenobe, said.

In the long term, Zuidnatie wants to offer this form of shore power to all shipping companies calling at the terminals. At a later stage, Zuidnatie plans to use the generated energy from its solar panels as a power source to charge the batteries.