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Assault by battery on the increase

Hybrid RTGs are growing in popularity, and there are also new and retrofi t E-RTG projects to report

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ICTSI has taken delivery of more hybrid RTGs from Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding
ICTSI has taken delivery of more hybrid RTGs from Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding

In March, ICTSI took delivery of four more Paceco hybrid RTGs from Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co Ltd (MES) at its flagship MICT container terminal in Manila, as part of its order for 16 such machines (WorldCargo News, January 2019, p21).

Powered with a 220 kVA Li-ion battery pack recharged from a small diesel genset, the RTGs are expected to reduce emissions by up to 40%. The remaining eight hybrid RTGs should be delivered by the end of September this year, along with two more super post-Panamax quay cranes from ZPMC.

Chinese jobs

Last month, Corvus Energy announced that it has been awarded a contract by CCCC Shanghai Equipment Engineering (CCCCSEE) to supply the energy storage systems (ESS) for 20 various retrofit and newbuild RTGs from its affiliate ZPMC in Chinese ports.

With primary operations in Vancouver, Canada and Bergen, Norway, Corvus Energy has previously supplied 48 RTGs through CCCCSEE. This is the first order for the new Corvus Energy Asia office located in Singapore.

Unlike conventional diesel-electric port cranes, the hybrid version is powered primarily from the Corvus battery package, resulting in fuel savings of up to 65%, claims Corvus. The added benefits of reduced operating costs, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and lower noise levels at the terminal make a very attractive business case.

“Corvus Energy has definitely shifted the economics and viability of converting diesel port equipment to batteryhybrid electric with their Orca Energy systems, said Gao Jianzhong, chief engineer, CCCCSEE.

“Exceeding all requirements and expectations, Corvus ESS technology is a cornerstone of our future strategy for technological advancement. Through previous deliveries, they have proven that the performance, durability and reliability of its battery systems are ideally suited to the demands of our port equipment.”

The Orca ESS stores regenerative braking energy captured as the RTG crane lowers a container – a high-current charge that most battery systems cannot sustain. The stored energy is used to power the RTG crane during operations such as trolley and gantry movement, allowing the diesel engine to be shut off when it would traditionally be idling or operating inefficiently at low loads.

Smaller gensets

The size of the generator can be smaller, the generator can be used less often and its operation optimised for fuel-efficiency.

“The design and performance of Corvus Orca Energy enables the ESS to support aggressive load profiles with a significant reduction in cost,” said Pradeep Datar, VP sales at Corvus Energy Asia. “We expect the market for battery-hybrid RTG applications will continue to grow as leading port equipment suppliers such as CCCCSEE prove the technology’s efficacy to significantly reduce emissions. There is significant retrofit potential with existing RTGs in global ports, in particular in Asia, which operates half the world’s roughly 10,000 RTGs.

“Furthermore, there is an upward trend for hybrid and all-electric RTGs in new orders. Corvus technology continues to provide solutions for progressive port operators worldwide who seek to increase efficiencies while reducing emissions and the environmental impact of their operations.”


The Adani Group, India’s biggest private port operator, recently placed an order with Vahle for retrofitting 18 aisles and 15 RTGs in the port of Kattupalli, India. The project includes 3 km of the 4-pole vCONDUCTOR U35 conductor system, as well as 3 km of positioning system. The modification, including commissioning, is planned for late summer of 2019.

The Trimotion system is remote control-ready and only the vCOM data rail SMGX needs to be added. After retrofitting 15 RTG cranes, the Port of Kattupalli is the first container terminal of its kind in India, capable of fully automated
and remote-controlled container handling inside the RTG aisles.

Trimotion is Vahle’s newest development, with a maximum extension of 1,700mm and two carbon brushes per phase. Designed for four conductor rails in parallel, Trimotion is a compact solution for electrifying an RTG, particularly where space is limited, which it might often be expected to be in RTG retrofit electrification projects.

Three applications can be realised within one device – electrification, positioning and data communication – so it is automation-ready. Once Trimotion has been installed, the E-RTGs can be operated by remote control, monitored
via live video signal transmission, and navigated from the ROC station, including remote emergency stop.


The Adani Group has since awarded Vahle a similar project in another Indian port, this time covering 16 aisles and nine RTGs equipped with the Trimotion system, to be executed during the course of this year.

The project includes 2 km of the 4-pole vCONDUCTOR U35 conductor system, as well as 2 km of positioning system, along with 2 km of failsafe SMGX data communication rail. RTGs from ZPMC will be installed with an automated arm to enter and leave the electrification system automatically.


The modification, including commissioning, is planned for this autumn.

The SMGX system, said Vahle, withstands tropical environmental conditions such as dust, intense rainfall, high humidity and temperatures, and is insensitive to any electrical interference from other wireless communications.

The data transmission rate of the SMGX system is 300 Mbit/s (gross rate). This enables the ROC operator to monitor/operate several E-RTGs at the same time from his/her desk in the operations control room. The data rate meets the
requirements for full automation at the terminal, stressed Vahle.


Wilmington E-RTGs

In March, Konecranes reported that it has received an order from Gulftainer USA for nine electric RTGs and three Liftace reach stackers for the new terminal that the operator is developing in Wilmington, at Du Pont’s former Edgemoor site on the Delaware River. Earlier in the month, Gulftainer had announced that work has begun on a US$17M dock extension and a crane rail project.

The E-RTGs are due for delivery in Q1 and Q4 2020, with an onboard battery system to provide power for stack changes. They are configured as 7+1/1- over-5 machines, with a SWL of 41t, and they will be equipped with Konecranes
Active Load control (ALC) system, to eliminate sway, and its Stack Collision Prevention system.

The cranes will be powered off a busbar system, and Konecranes will fit the machines with automatic drive-in arms to connect to the busbars. Gulftainer USA declined to provide information about the contracts for the busbar and associated civil works, or the layout it has opted for, although at the time of writing, WorldCargo News understands these have not been awarded.

Although the batteries’ main job is to supply power for changing lanes, Konecranes stated that they can provide emergency hoist operations at reduced speed in the event of a power outage. During normal operations, the batteries are recharged from the busbars.


The Port of Wilmington already operates Konecranes Gottwald MHCs, and Gulftainer also operates Konecranes container handling equipment in Port Canaveral, Florida, and in the Middle East.


More for Savannah

Down the coast, Konecranes’ biggest single customer for RTGs, Georgia Ports Authority (GPA), has ordered a further 20 machines for the Port of Savannah. When these cranes are operational, GPA Savannah will operate a total of 178
Konecranes RTGs, including 12 under delivery during this year.

The machines are RTG-16s, with an SWL of 50t, stacking 6+1/1-over5. They will feature Konecranes ALC and Autosteering. They will also be equipped with Konecranes’ Truconnect remote monitoring system.

Although the 20 RTGs on order are diesel-electric machines, they will be prepared with cable reel readiness for electric operation. This may suggest a departure for GPA as regards RTG electrification in future. Up to now, it has used busbar systems from Conductix-Wampfler.



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