Atlas Copco ZBC energy storage systems optimize the use of renewable energies at Antwerp Euroterminal
Antwerp Euroterminal (AET), the biggest multipurpose terminal in Europe, is undergoing a vast energy transformation.
Central to its energy transition are four ZBC 250-500 energy storage systems from Atlas Copco. The innovative battery-based ZBC units are being used to store and deliver renewable energy to optimize consumption on-site and power the commissioning of thousands of cars.
Pioneers in the transformation of power supply in ports
As society becomes increasingly environmentally conscious and governments worldwide pledge to reduce their environmental impact, ports are also looking to operate more sustainably to reduce their carbon emissions. The Port of Antwerp-Bruges aims to reach net zero by 2050 and become the world’s most sustainable port.
The Port’s CO2 emissions are approximately 17 million tons each year, which is around 10% of Belgium’s entire CO2 output. In a bid to reduce these emissions and to reach its carbon-neutral goal, it is embracing renewable energy and innovative technology, and coordinating the PIONEERS consortium – part of the Green Deal of Horizon 2020.
PIONEERS is an international association of 46 partners, including Antwerp Euroterminal, who are working together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in ports . The terminal has already installed three wind turbines, which can generate 10.6 MW, and fitted solar panels, which will generate an additional 2MW of renewable energy. To ensure that the electricity generated from these renewable energy sources can be used flexibly, where and when it is needed, and regardless of the presence of wind and sun, the terminal has developed an energy storage strategy.
A reliable energy storage solution would enable the terminal to efficiently manage various sources of energy, by integrating the use of renewables and limiting the required power output from the grid, and potentially bring significant savings to the end user.
The largest carport in the world
The Port of Antwerp-Bruges is the largest carport in the world and is extremely busy exporting and importing roll-on, roll-off cargo, including electric vehicles. In 2021, the port managed 2.2 million cars and it has a parking capacity of 365,000 units. Once the new cargo of vehicles arrives in port, they are unloaded and sent to specialized centers within the port where tests and inspections are conducted before onward delivery.
James continues, “Currently, we have approximately 50,000 cars on the terminal’s quay and over 1,000 truck visits a day, with freight arriving by train, road, and water. We wanted to have a reliable energy storage system to power the commissioning of these vehicles, and to allow us to check their electronics and charge their batteries before they reach the market.”
Antwerp Euroterminal approached Air Plus for support, requiring a flexible, reliable, and sustainable energy storage solution. “Antwerp Euroterminal was looking for a versatile solution to increase its energy efficiency. It was a challenging project, requiring high energy needs, and the terminal wanted a mobile solution to integrate the energy input from various sources,” says Mark Adams, Sales & Marketing Director at Air Plus.
A custom-made solution based on Lithium-ion batteries
The energy storage systems needed to be able to store the energy coming from the various renewable sources and the grid and deliver it as required to ensure the correct functioning of the batteries and the electronic system of thousands of vehicles.
Leveraging the benefits of high-density Lithium-ion batteries, the ZBC energy storage systems enable Antwerp Euroterminal to minimize the environmental impact of its operations. By storing the wind and solar output, these units not only ensure efficient use of energy, but they reduce the overall fossil fuel consumption and consequently CO2 emissions.
Each system has a storage capacity of 537kWh and there are four systems on site, providing a total storage capacity of 2.15 MWh, which is equivalent to the average daily consumption of 232 families.
“Atlas Copco’s ZBC energy storage systems are modular and mobile. They can be moved around to be integrated into different solutions, with variable sources of energy. Since the terminal wants to transform its whole power supply structure, this flexibility was especially important,” continues Mark.
Atlas Copco's new Energy Management System (EMS), the ECO ControllerTM, delivers the stored energy when it is needed, optimizing its distribution, and making sure there is always enough power output. Having the ECO ControllerTM as the brain of the solution enables peak shaving with the power grid, flattening the load profile, covering low loads, and efficiently managing peak hours of energy demand.
Additionally, Atlas Copco has recently launched its own fast charger, the Z Charger. This innovative solution increases the charging rate by boosting the voltage so battery-driven electric vehicles and machinery can charge quickly. The Z Charger, with a rated power of 160kW, can deliver 7 times faster than an ordinary wall box, and 42 times faster than a regular wall charger.
Energy Storage Systems to become net independent
Initially, the ZBC energy storage systems were specified for use with vehicles, and since installing them, Antwerp Euroterminal has been able to efficiently commission and charge them, as necessary. However, the terminal has subsequently realized a wider benefit as the systems are contributing to, and having a vast impact on, the terminals’ energy transformation. The innovative solution has become a key component in the terminal’s understanding of its energy consumption, helping it to reduce its carbon footprint and achieving its goals as part of PIONEERS.