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Battery storage and hydrogen high on agenda for Port Oakland green power shift

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The Port of Oakland will place hydrogen and battery storage as a priority for the port’s future power resilience.

Electric ship-to-shore (STS) cranes and onshore power, amongst other low or zero-emission equipment, will place a greater draw on the port’s power grid.

Speaking to PTI, Executive Director at the Port of Oakland Danny Wan said future investments in areas such as electric truck charging will require resilience to be built into the port’s green offering.

“We need to electrify our infrastructure. All of our STS cranes are already electric, and recently we converted many of our RTG cranes to hybrid. We’re installing electric truck charging stations,” Wan outlined.

However, California has had issues dealing with the reliability of electricity from the power grid, Wan explained. In September 2020, Californian ports suspended mandatory use of shore power amid electricity conservation during a heatwave in the state.

Moving forward, Wan forecasts the port building electrical resilience across a variety of factors: including converting its substations, as well as delving further into hydrogen and green-powered research.

The port will continue its demonstration projects for hydrogen: a fuel which provides zero-emission benefits for cargo-handling equipment, charging for hydrogen fuel cell trucks, or vessel bunkering.

A tenant warehouser is utilising solar rooves – part of the port community’s drive to remain “agnostic” to renewable technologies in the future, Wan said.

“All those things are our demonstration stages, but obviously we see the electricity is coming. We are going to look for sources such as battery technology, [of] which a company is testing that battery storage right next to the Port of Oakland,” he explained.

“We are trying to figure out how to self-generate electricity sources, but [also] to solidify the infrastructure within the port-to-ship power from outside sources as well,” he said.

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