Unmanned cargo ships, storage of CO2 and fuel from renewable raw materials. These are just a few of the inspiring innovations that are going on in the port of Rotterdam around the energy transition. The trend session Energy Transition in the port of Rotterdam of KPMG, Deltalinqs and Rotterdam Maritime Services Community (RMSC) gave young professionals an exciting insight into the developments.
Due to the climate objectives, the port is facing an enormous transformation. “Every bolt and nut has to come off,” outlines Alice Krekt, Climate Program Director of Deltalinqs, which represents the interests of the companies in the Rotterdam port area. By 2050, the port area must be energy neutral.
No small task; the activity in the Rotterdam-Moerdijk industrial cluster is now responsible for 33 megatons of CO2 emissions. A large part of the total of 141.5 megatonnes of CO2 (cbs 2021 figure) in the Netherlands. Krekt: “The Dutch climate objectives largely weigh on the shoulders of the companies in this area.” Major changes are needed, without jeopardising the large employment – 385,000 jobs – and the economic contribution of 6.2% of gross national product.
With an overview from different innovative companies, we showed the audience what is done in Rotterdam already:
- Vopak with a focus in Hydrogen. Promising is the technology in which the hydrogen molecule is bound to ammonia or (benzyl) toluene. The latter option can make use of the existing infrastructure, which is an advantage, given the limited space in the port.
- Value Maritime (member of RMSC), is engaged in capturing the CO2 emitted directly at the source: on the ships themselves.
- Shipbuilder Damen Shipyards contributes to the energy transition by developing electric ships that sail autonomously. Thanks to camera and data systems, it is possible to let ships sail independently, monitored from shore.
- Fuel supplier FinCo Fuel Group looks at renewable fuels for the energy transition: “These sustainable fuels from residual and waste materials help the transport sector to accelerate the necessary steps” where shipping company Wilson has already equipped 81 of the 130 vessels with a shore power installation. Thanks to the connection to the electricity grid, the diesel generators do not have to run to generate electricity for use on board. An additional advantage: it prevents air pollution and noise pollution. “Important in picturesque Norwegian harbours as well as on the Lloydkade or Parkkade in Rotterdam” according to managing director Robert Bravenboer.
All this new technology and installations must be operated and maintained. Companies need employees who can work in a multidisciplinary way. STC provides the knowledge and stimulates the skills needed to work together in the new world.
And KPMG sees that more and more large companies – inside and outside the port – are looking for ways to make the energy needed for the primary business processes more sustainable. “The demand for locally sustainably generated energy is increasing. At their own location or through a contract with a local party. In addition to a better grip on the energy supply, this also gives financial benefits,” explains Jaap Van Roekel of KPMG. “A company that generates its own renewable energy creates a natural hedge (protection, ed.) against the rising price of CO2 emissions.“
Participants were given the opportunity to speak directly with the companies during the pitch break and afterwards the panel discussion gave a good overview of what is going on and how the companies make it happen; the speakers and panel members got the young professionals enthusiastic to work on the transition in the sector.
Of course, the afternoon ended with a networking drink. The organizing parties see so many positive reactions that there will be a follow-up.