Wednesday 18th Jul, 2018

SPECIAL REPORT: Port & Container Equipment

Digitally created image supplied by Qube
Digitally created image supplied by Qube

THE Clean Energy Finance Corporation announced in July its first investment in clean energy transport infrastructure, committing up to $150 million to a major intermodal terminal in south-western Sydney.

The Moorebank Logistics Park (MLP) project involves the development of intermodal freight terminal facilities, over 243 hectares, linked to Port Botany and the interstate rail network.

The Australian Government committed to develop Moorebank five years ago and set up the Moorebank Intermodal Company to facilitate it. In January this year the government reached an agreement with Sydney Intermodal Terminal Alliance (a wholly owned subsidiary of Qube Holdings) to develop and operate the site.

Much has been written about the project’s reduction in freight truck emissions by more than 110,000 tonnes of CO2 a year, by switching containerised freight transport from road to rail.

In fact, the freight and energy efficiencies delivered via the MLP are expected to result in net emission reductions totalling more than two million tonnes of CO2 over a 40-year period. This net reduction takes into account construction emissions, embodied energy within building materials, offsite transportation, operational emissions and savings from the onsite use of renewable energy.

“Moorebank will transform the import/export supply chain making it faster and cheaper but the modal shift from road to rail combined with the latest automated technologies means it will also showcase an new more sustainable approach to large scale freight infrastructure,” said Michael Yiend, development director at MLP.

He told Lloyd’s List Australia, “Given the sheer size of the Moorebank site and the fact every component of the project has been looked at for both cost and environmental efficiencies, the carbon emission reduction savings over the life of the facility are very significant”.

Moving, stacking and more

There are a number of onsite technologies being developed for the MLP which will make it cleaner, more efficient, safer and have a longer operational life than other traditional freight facilities.

These include low emission, computer optimised driverless equipment and a renewable energy network. The MLP will also use regenerative converters on its automated stacking cranes (gantry cranes).

Regenerative converters will enable the electric energy generated while lowering containers to be captured instead of just dissipated in the form of heat. By incorporating a connected power network between cranes, and computerised programming of crane movements, so that some cranes are performing lifting or gantrying movements while others are performing lowering movements, the energy generated during lowering can be partially fed into other cranes to power lifting movements.

This allows the cranes’ energy use overall and peak energy consumption to be reduced, and consequently the volume of greenhouse emissions to be reduced. With the use of regeneration capture, a total energy reduction of approximately 10% may be possible. This equates to an annual saving of 830,000 kwh/pa or a reduction of 1,400 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Claire Hodgson from Arcadis, the consultancy that provided sustainability advisory services to Qube on the MLP, said, “The modelling and analysis behind quantifying freight vehicle kilometres and GHG savings was incredibly complex.

“Quantifying the energy use for the operation of MLP enabled us to identify a number of opportunities to further reduce GHG emission; most notably through the inclusion of onsite renewable energy.”

The Moorebank precinct is to feature a solar photovoltaic cell network on the expansive roof space available of 850,000 square metres of warehousing.

The project is to also use automated guided vehicles (AGV) and electric warehouse forklifts. AGVs are programmed to autonomously travel within an enclosed precinct that is restricted to human entry. The use of electric AGVs at Moorebank would save approximately 181 tonnes of CO2 per year compared to diesel.

The use of fully electric forklifts at Moorebank will result in greenhouse emissions reductions when compared to both diesel and LPG forklifts. In addition, rapid charge batteries allow for 24 hour use of electric forklifts, without requiring substantial charge time. Batteries can be charged at shift change or during breaks, and charge sufficiently to allow for ongoing use.

“The MLP is a unique opportunity to reshape what sustainability can mean in the transport sector,” said Ms Hodgson.

“The net greenhouse gas emissions produced by not building this facility are higher than building it, which is staggering considering the size of Moorebank Logistics Park,” she said.

From the print edition August 31, 2017

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