Approaches to mitigate against stranded diesel assets

Owners and operators are seeking non fossil fuel alternatives or means to dramatically reduce their emissions from assets like generators, forklifts, mobile cranes, and port boats. The winning business(es) in this competition will be given an opportunity to present their solutions to a group of major port operators.

Opportunity Details


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The opportunity is for the company to present to a panel of the major port operators including the Royal Navy and their associates, to position the port operators to establish a budget to develop the products if selected.

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The innovation exchange is looking for innovative solutions for avoiding the ‘stranding’ of diesel-powered assets within ports and harbours. Emissions legislation and air quality directives will start to take effect and the use of fossil fuel powered assets may become restricted or banned from use if the polluting impact of their use in terms of emissions are not addressed. Stranded assets are “assets that have suffered from unanticipated or premature write-downs, devaluations or conversion to liabilities” and in the context of this challenge refer to diesel powered assets with working lives that extend beyond the horizon for their restricted use or banning. Owners and operators are seeking non fossil fuel alternatives or means to dramatically reduce their emissions from assets like generators, forklifts, mobile cranes, and port boats. The winning business(es) in this competition will be given an opportunity to present their solutions to a group of major port operators, with the potential of a commercial opportunity to deliver their solution.

Challenge Details

The Innovation Exchange is delivered by KTN, which is supporting major ports to identify innovative solutions to the challenge of decarbonising ports & harbours. This challenge is brought forward by the Innovation Network for Decarbonising Ports and Harbours.

The Challenge

A working group of DPHIN (ABP Limited, BAE Systems, Forth Ports Limited, Port of Cromarty Firthand Port of Tyne) is examining the potential for innovative solutions to mitigate against stranded diesel assets.

This challenge is one of two being developed and promoted at this time. A second challenge is exploring how to improve the efficiency of shore derived power to the portside operations and visiting ships.

An effective means to reduce pollution and decarbonise activity in the short to medium term will be to reduce demand and eventually replace fossil fuels as the means to derive energy to power mobility. Ports are home to a wide array of plant and equipment as well as acting as a hub to a range of mobile transport including ships, rail and road freight. Portside equipment represents substantive investment for the port operators, which have long working lives – working boats are c. 20 years and lifting equipment like cranes will be 20-25 years.

Largely the stranded assets can be categorised in three areas:
1) Static equipment, such as tower cranes or hoppers, which lends itself to being tethered to a High Voltage network to provide electrical energy to power mobility.
2) Smaller mobile equipment with lower loads, such as forklifts (SWL 5 – 50T), pilot boats and tugs could be met with batteries providing the electrical energy.
3) Larger mobile equipment with a higher load demand or long use cycles, such as loading shovels, mobile hoppers, straddle carriers (container lifters), mobile material handlers and dredging boats would not suit current approaches such as tethering or batteries but might be suitable for emerging technology around hydrogen or replacement biofuels.

Courtesy of Port of Tilbury, London, Forth Ports Ltd
71T Straddle Lifter with a 40T lifting capacity

The DPHIN working group would welcome approaches in any or all of the equipment categories identified earlier with potential in topics such as:
· Alternative fuels
· Photovoltaic solar modules including solar thermal
· Hydrogen fuel cells
· Hybrid approaches
· New engine design / replacement power trains
· Retrofit or modifications to the drive train (recognising need to preserve warranties)
· Energy management systems and power augmentation systems
· Batteries
· Fuel cells
· Hydrogen
· Hydraulics
· Flywheel technologies or inertia systems.
· Smart controllers and telemetry.
· Energy generation and re use

Proposals are welcome for:
· Existing market-ready technologies
· Established solutions from other sectors of industry which can be adapted for this application.
· Development proposals based on existing competences.
· Universities, RTO’s and Catapults with above TRL 5 solutions.

Potential solutions may come from a host of sectors not limited to;
Road haulage and niche vehicles development
Working boat and naval architects
Construction and infrastructure – plant manufacturers
Heavy engineering

Rewards and benefits
Successful applicants will be given an opportunity to pitch to the Challenger. The package may also include:
• Support from KTN and members of the Port Innovation Network – Introductions to relevant Catapults or potential collaborations and any applicable funding streams.
• Support in the development of a prototype or pilot.
• Technical support from Port Operators with support from their business teams as required.
• A place in KTN or Catapult events
• A potential business collaboration

Solution Requirements

Functional Requirements
· Solutions are required to enable a wide range of plant and equipment, and water-based port operators vessels found at ports to transition from diesel burning high carbon intensity propulsion to a low or preferably zero carbon energy propulsion.
· Proposals should account for the diversity of equipment and may focus on a particular subset such as mobile or static equipment, solutions which favour electric propulsion or those based on non-electric.
· The proposed solution could derive from approaches which could include:
1. Allow for a replacement energy supply system which can either replace the entire energy input or augment the existing propulsion system
2. Replace the diesel fuel or energy source within the asset whilst maintaining similar performance profiles for its active duties and similar downtime profiles for re-energising and maintenance.
3. Reduce the diesel use through modelling energy use, monitoring asset use and providing user feedback, deploying energy conservation measures or through improved maintenance
· Consideration should be given to how the application of any solutions might impact on performance warranties issued by the OEM’s of the equipment, particularly for recent procurement.
· Consideration should be given to health and safety implications of any modifications and ensure suitable training and information is provided to ensure risks are fully understood and safety procedures adopted.

Technical Characteristics

· Much of this equipment is utilised 24 hours per day and 7 days a week. Downtime is kept to a minimum. Proposed solutions should aim to be rapidly applied and require minimal maintenance or intervention.
· See equipment list in the Challenge Section
· The Challenge holders have considered and in some cases are currently trialling the following approaches but would welcome hearing from applicants with similar approaches or ones which will work alongside these:
o AI and big data analysis to optimise energy capacity to meet operational demand
o Batteries for electrical storage
o Behaviour change
o Biofuels as a partial replacement
o Dual propellers on working boats
o Flywheels on static lifting equipment
o Fuel additives
o Hull coatings to reduce fouling, and recently automated hull cleaning
o Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles
o Small Nuclear Reactors
· However, the Challenge Holders do not want to receive further submissions relating to fuel additives or hull coatings, but solutions utilising automated hull cleaning are in scope.

Operating Conditions

· The equipment and ships in port arrive and need servicing in all weathers, in all temperatures and all times of day, the solution must be able to operate under typical UK sea port conditions and in typical British Weather, with a temperature range of -20 – + 40 DegC, with high wind speeds and variable precipitation levels from drizzle to torrential rain.
· The solution should comply with recognised protocols or international standards, which should be stated in the submission, e.g. those by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency etc
· Operating space at ports and harbours is often constrained and available at a premium so the solution should be agile and require minimal space to operate

Deployment Timescale

· Launch of the Competition: 12 February 2021
· Deadline for applications: noon 25 March 2021
· Selection and notification of finalists: 30 April 2021
· A presentation day (Video Conference) 12 May 2021 – subject to confirmation and numbers selected.
· Solutions should be prepared for:
o Feasibility assessments, where needed, to be completed within 2 months of competition win
o Fully deployable for prototype testing at site within 3 months of feasibility completion or selection win.

Cost requirement and market opportunity

· A commercialisation plan is desired for port operators to get a cost model for future deployment.
· The applicant should demonstrate what the minimal viable product would entail to meet the initial demand profiles.
· The opportunity is for the company to present to a panel of the major port operators including the Royal Navy and their associates, to position the port operators to establish a budget to develop the products if selected

Eligibility and assessment criteria

Entrants to this competition must be:
· Established businesses, startups, SMEs or individual entrepreneurs
· UK based or have the intention to set up a UK base to commercialise the opportunity

Applications will be assessed on:
· Relevance to the topic
· Innovative nature of the subject
· Coherence of the proposed business model
· Feasibility/ economic viability
· Development potential
· Maturity of project/solution
· Ability to launch project quickly/Ease of implementation
· Price/quality ratio
· Suitability for the UK and International Market

IP and Potential Commercial Route

· Existing background IP associated with a potential solution will remain with Solution Provider(s). Where any new IP generation is envisaged, it will be subject to the mutual IP agreement of the Solution Provider(s) and Innovation Challenger.
· Any commercial deployment of transferred solution or newly developed solution, through licensing, joint venture, partnership or direct investment, will be subject to the commercial agreement between the Solution Provider(s) and Innovation Challenger.
· Where necessary, a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) may be signed to uphold confidentiality in the engagement between the Solution Provider(s) and Innovation Challenger.
· KTN do not take any share of IP ownership or enter into commercial venture through the Innovation Exchange programme


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