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Stockholm Norvik’s methanol smart marker pilot opens up 5G potential

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The use of a methanol-powered smart marker at Stockholm Norvik Port could open up the potential for 5G integration and emissions monitoring in the future.

The navigational marker, equipped with a methanol fuel cell as part of the EU Intelligent Sea project, guides traffic in the fairway leading to the Swedish port.

Jonas Andersson, Nautical Coordinator at Ports of Stockholm, told PTI the methanol cell has a high energy content at 1 kilowatt (kW) per litre, reducing container changing frequency.

“One difficulty was the power supply,” Andersson said.

Andersson continued that there are high investment costs to run power supply cables under water and at distance.

He added that running power cables underwater to supply power to navigational markers can incur high investment costs for a port.

The methanol fuel cell, paired with renewable solar power, will offer a low-carbon power source for Stockholm to utilise the digital navigation marker.

Arctia has delivered all four of the digital smart navigation markers with illuminated screens that Ports of Stockholm is responsible for.

The navigation markers have mobile network internet connection and can be monitored and controlled remotely.

Ports are increasingly using methanol as a low-carbon fuel source, largely for vessel bunkering.

The experiment by Artica and Stockholm Norvik Port is one of the first use cases of where the low-carbon fuel can provide power resilience elsewhere in port operations.

In the future, Andersson posited that the mix of low-carbon methanol and renewable solar power could power floating 5G aid navigation points to guide ships into the port.

“[The] next step is to try to put it in a floating aids navigation, because we know that this distance since in the water is quite far. It is at long distances and 5G needs quite short distances between their stations to get a good network,” he explained.

“[There are still] lots of difficulties. But that is an Arctia development that I think they may be planning.”

One area where port operatives could benefit, Andersson noted, could be through utilising a 5G network for sensors measuring of ship emissions navigating through the archipelagos and fairway leading to Stockholm Norvik.

The pilot trial is part of the EU Intelligent Sea Project, which Ports of Stockholm is taking part in together with the Port of Naantali and the Finnish company Artica.

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