Fresh ideas for electrifying port logistics

Published: 6. February 2019

Next Kraftwerke is joining Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA), the OFFIS – Institute for Information Technology, and the University of Göttingen (Chair of Information Management) on a unique project called FRESH. With FRESH, the project partners are trying out new ideas for control reserve provided by batteries in electric automated guided vehicles (AGV).

HHLA is a European transport and logistics company, which operates container terminals in the ports of Hamburg, Odessa and Tallinn. At the HHLA’s Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA), located in the Port of Hamburg, shipping containers are moved between quay cranes and storage blocks using AGVs. This fleet of around 100 heavy goods vehicles is currently being converted to run on lithium-ion batteries. Vehicles that are being charged or on standby will soon be used to provide control reserve. Initially, the fleet will mainly be used for supplying primary control reserve, but additional control reserve forms and the provision of flexibility will also be explored.

For the project, Next Kraftwerke is developing concepts for the fleet’s prequalification as well as the charging system of the AGV, and trades the control reserve power. In order to provide control reserve, the charging stations will be connected to the Virtual Power Plant using the Next Box, a bidirectional remote-control unit developed by Next Kraftwerke. When calculating the available control reserve, the project partners have carefully weighed important factors. Placing the batteries’ capacity on the control reserve market requires a high degree of reliability, but providing control reserve cannot hinder the terminal’s logistical operations. A prognosis algorithm calculates the potential amount of power that can be put up for bidding based on estimates of the vehicles’ operating and standby times. To continually improve these forecasts, the project partners are using a range of tools that include deep learning, a form of machine learning. Redundancies built into the charging stations ensure that reliable control reserve is always available. Theoretically, the AGV fleet could supply up to four megawatts of control reserve to the power trading markets.

Alexander Krautz, Team Manager of Innovation & Development at Next Kraftwerke: “We are really looking forward to working with HHLA on this unique project. The digitalization and electrification of the logistics industry – with its high energy needs and special considerations – are a challenge for our power system. But they also provide new possibilities when it comes to optimization and stability.”

Boris Wulff from CTA’s terminal development at HHLA: “Electric drive technology is not some futuristic vision for us. It’s something we’ve been using for quite some time, and we want to expand on our pioneering role in this field. The FRESH project is one more way of pursuing that goal. With Next Kraftwerke, we’re glad to have such an experienced partner by our side.”

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