Port Energy Systems Optimisation (PESO)

A pilot project in Portsmouth which showed how ports can use smart grid technology and energy storage to decarbonise their activities.

Lead Organisation

Blue Tech Ventures (MSE International)







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Summary: impacts and findings

The Port Energy Systems Optimisation (PESO) project demonstrated how ports can use smart grid technology and energy storage to decarbonise their activities, and reduce their adverse impact on air quality, more cost effectively than would otherwise be possible.

Project aims and approach

The Port Energy Systems Optimisation project (PESO) was a response to the pressing need to find a way to decarbonise the UK’s ports, using Portsmouth as the location for a pilot system.

Ports are major users of energy. Whilst many are working to reduce their use of fossil fuels and to transition to electricity, initiatives to electrify infrastructure or to install renewable power generation on site are often stalled by the requirement for expensive network reinforcement to meet the potentially higher electricity loads – whether drawing energy from, or supplying it to, the grid.

The PESO project worked to overcome this problem by integrating a large-capacity hybrid lithium-ion and lead-acid battery into the port’s energy network, optimised to suit the port environment. Energy generated onsite can be stored in the battery until it is needed.

An advanced energy management system optimises the energy flow around the port and coordinates with the grid. The control system includes an AI-based capability that learns from historic energy consumption profiles to ensure that the battery can deliver as much energy as possible when demand is high. The technology was extended by engineering a predictive ‘digital twin’ model that can ensure the battery has capacity to store energy generated by on-site renewable generation or procured from the grid at times of low price.

This combined capability to minimise the cost of energy needed to supply vessels with energy and to drive the port’s own assets was an important part of the value proposition. The value proposition is further strengthened by exploiting the market for provision of balancing services to the grid and distribution networks.

Watch a description of the PESO project, starting 25 minutes into this webinar from 2022.


  • Blue Tech Ventures (MSE International)
  • Portsmouth International Port
  • Swanbarton
  • The Energy Systems Catapult


April 2020 to December 2022

Achievements and barriers

The project successfully demonstrated the capability of its novel dual-chemistry battery and multi-level control system. It showed that this technology can offer value to a wide range of ports. However there remain barriers to overcome if the potential is to be fully realised.  These include:

  • The high cost of battery storage – which should improve as scale grows and technology advances
  • The need to collaborate more widely along the value chain for maritime logistics
  • Uncertainty around policy developments on electricity pricing and public investment in the transmission and distribution networks.

Meanwhile the PESO consortium is working on a range of actions to advance the commercial deployment of PESO during 2023.


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