How Floating Battery Buoys Could Curb Shipping Emissions in Ports.

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How Floating Battery Buoys Could Curb Shipping Emissions in Ports.

How Floating Battery Buoys Could Curb Shipping Emissions in Ports. Source: T20
Floating Battery Buoys could Curb Shipping Emissions in Ports. Source: T20

The shipping industry has been one of the largest contributors to emissions worldwide for years. As global demand for goods produced overseas has increased, so has the proportional increase of particulate emissions into our atmosphere. The global shipping industry represents 3% of total global greenhouse gas emissions, which will only increase in the coming years if remedial measures aren’t taken immediately. In collaboration with its subsidiary Stillstrom, Maersk is set to tackle this problem head-on. 

When ships dock in port, as they are loading and unloading goods, they plug in directly to the electrical grid on shore so they can retain critical operations like refrigeration, radars, radio etc. However, ports are only so large so often that as ships wait outside the port, they run auxiliary engines that emit hundreds of tons of cO2 into the atmosphere. Stillstrom’s proposal is to deploy charging buoys offshore connected to renewable energy generators, so these ships no longer have to rely on auxiliary power. 

This problem was demonstrated quite shockingly during the supply chain backlogs in 2020. This was particularly noticeable in the Port of Las Angeles and Long Beach, where as many as 70 ships at a time were anchored offshore, pumping emissions and particulate into the atmosphere. According to the California Air Resources Board, these ships were pumping an additional 20 tons of smog, inducing nitrogen oxides into the air locally. This smog contributes to rising rates of cancer and other deadly lung-based diseases and ailments in the area. 

Stillstrom, meaning quiet power in Danish, has implemented a test buoy offshore in Norway. Right now, it’s connected by one cable to one buoy but plans to have multiple charging connections on this single buoy. With the shipping industry directly in the line of sight of environmental organizations due to its gross pollution of our planet, the push towards renewable and clean ways of shipping and transportation of goods is of utmost priority, with the trajectory of implementation significantly improved compared to the goals of just a few years ago. 

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