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HHLA, Hapag-Lloyd and Becker Marine Test Alternative Power Supply for Ships

Terminal operator HHLA, container shipping company Hapag-Lloyd and technology supplier Becker Marine Systems have successfully tested alternative power supply for ships while on layovers in the Port of Hamburg. 

Over the past few weeks, the parties have been testing a prototype of the mobile power generator multiple times with some of Hapag-Lloyd’s giant 20,000 TEU containerships.

This is said to represent a further step toward improving air quality at the Port of Hamburg. The new technology is set to enable large and very large containerships to switch off their auxiliary diesel supplies during lay time and instead draw the power they need for onboard operations from a new kind of a mobile generator.

The trio has been testing the new technology as part of a joint pilot project since the start of the year. Becker Marine developed the mobile power generator, then partnered with Hapag-Lloyd and HHLA for the test phase.

The Becker LNG PowerPac® is a compact system having the size of two 40-foot containers. The unit comprises a gas-powered generator and an LNG tank, which provides the energy for the generator.

As soon as a containership docks, a container gantry crane lifts the mobile 1.5-megawatt power generator from the quay into position at the stern of the ship. Once there, it is connected to the ship’s power system and can supply the electricity needed for onboard operations while the ship is docked.

Thanks to this innovation, harmful emissions such as the sulfur dioxide, particulate matter and nitrous oxides that would normally be generated while the ship is running on auxiliary diesel can be either reduced significantly or avoided entirely.

“We can safely say that the pilot phase was a complete success (…) The Becker LNG PowerPac® represents a straightforward solution for the reduction of harmful emissions in the port and has the potential to be implemented internationally. We are in conversation with a variety of European and Chinese ports,” Dirk Lehmann, Managing Director at Becker Marine Systems, said.

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure awarded a seven-figure sum to fund the development of the new technology as part of the government’s mobility and fuel strategy.

Enak Ferlemann, Parliamentary State Secretary for the Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, remarked: “Air pollution control is very important, especially in ports in densely populated areas. We therefore support sustainable and alternative power units and innovations like the LNG power packs, which contribute to modernising shipping and reducing emissions.”

“The use of PowerPacs as an alternative power supply for container ships while on layovers in the port makes a valuable contribution toward reducing harmful emissions in Hamburg,” Frank Horch, Hamburg’s Senator for Economic Affairs, pointed out.

Commenting on the pilot project, Anthony J. Firmin, Executive Board Member for Shipping at Hapag-Lloyd, said: “As a global company based in Hamburg, we were more than happy to support the tests. Shoreside power is an important component in our extensive efforts to make our business even more sustainable.”

HHLA has acted as an expert partner and handling service provider for the project since its launch in early 2016. Hamburg’s largest terminal operator defined the technical and process-related requirements for both ship-side handling and the handling of the PowerPac at Container Terminal Burchardkai (CTB).