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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Optimising charging times of electric port vehicles

Battery-powered vehicle at Container Terminal Altenwerder, Hamburg Battery-powered vehicle at Container Terminal Altenwerder, Hamburg HHLA

HHLA reports that its Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA) in Hamburg is testing a system that calculates the ideal charging times for its battery-powered Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs).

Ten battery-operated heavy goods vehicles transport containers between ships and the yard at the Garman facility. The aim is to charge the batteries of these trucks when the grid has a surplus of renewable energy generated in northern Germany.

A battery administration system is being developed as part of the BESIC research project (Battery Electric Heavy Goods Transports within the Intelligent Container Terminal Operation). The system calculates the ideal charging times – in both ecological and economic terms – by exchanging data with Vattenfall’s load forecasting system and the CTA terminal management system.

“Using eco-friendly technology is only truly sustainable if it costs less than conventional alternatives,” notes Stefan Behn, HHLA’s executive board member responsible for the Container segment. “I am confident that we can make successful use of surplus green power and reduce our energy costs as part of BESIC.”

“We are linking the future battery administration system with our load forecasting system and the terminal management system to identify suitable charging windows,” explained Oliver Weinmann, managing director of Vattenfall Innovation. “If we succeed in realising clear cost reductions with this intelligent charging strategy, other logistics applications could also benefit from it. In that case, we would develop a universal data standard based on the BESIC findings.”

“With BESIC, we are building on established, tried and trusted AGV technology and battery technology which has proved successful in recent tests,” added Mathias Dobner, managing director of Terex Port Solutions. “Now, we are developing alternative systems using lighter batteries with a higher energy density and an intelligent battery administration system.”

“For electric mobility to succeed in practice, we need information and communication technology (ICT) which can manage fleets of electric vehicles with a pool of battery systems, for example,” said Hans-Jürgen Appelrath, member of the managing board at the Energy Research Centre of Lower Saxony (EFZN). “The Container Terminal Altenwerder simulation allows us to study the effects of different charging strategies.”

As part of the BESIC project, standard diesel/electric automated guided vehicles are being compared with AGVs that are powered by conventional lead-acid batteries or by innovative lithium-ion technology. If the intelligent charging strategy significantly cuts operating costs, it could pave the way for heavy goods vehicles, HHLA notes.

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