Evaluating the ECO-RTG concept



Rob Kuilboer, Siemens Cranes, The Hague, The Netherlands


Reductions in emissions, noise and operating costs are becoming more and more important in the ports and shipping industry. The nature of the container handling business calls for high power demands, so potential savings are high as well.

Rising oil prices and environmental concerns have triggered a huge demand for more economically sound and environmentally friendly container handling equipment.

Siemens Cranes and APM Terminals have jointly developed a revolutionary RTG drive system. This ECO-RTG® system is very energy-efficient and promises terminal operators large reductions in fuel consumption and hence emissions and operational costs. Ten years ago, Siemens developed a rugged-design drive for use in hybrid vehicles.

This technology has proven itself in the hybrid vehicles market, where Siemens is a leading supplier of such drives. These small inverter units can be installed directly in the vehicle’s engine compartment, saving a lot of space. When installed on an RTG, the need for a large electrical room can be dispensed with. Field tests of these drives during real operations on the ECORTG ® prototype at APM Terminals Algeciras, Spain, show savings in fuel consumption of more than 50 per cent.

In addition to savings in fuel consumption and reductions in noise levels and emissions, the ECO-RTG® also leads to less maintenance and fewer fuel stops.  The Net Present Value of the additional investment is positive and therefore a sound financial investment. RTGs and Hybrid Vehicle Technology During 2005 and 2006, several container terminals around the world have chosen to buy RTGs with the new Siemens ECO-RTG drive system based on mobile hybrid drive components. The lay out of the drive concept is explained in the following graph (see Figure 1). There is one DUO inverter unit for powering the DC busbar.

The DICO control unit is connected through a CAN bus system, which is widely used in the automotive industry. The DICO is pre-programmed especially for the application. Just as in hybrid automobiles, the power management is done in this specially designed microprocessor.

The converters can be used as rectifier or inverter. One DUOunit consists of two different inverters (output 2 x 120 kVA). Also included are one or two phases for connection of a braking unit (if no energy storage is available).

The units are extremely rugged in design, and can be mounted next to the diesel engine in the motor compartment. The units are designed to operate in a warm and dusty marine environment. The ECO-RTG® system has multiple benefits for end-users. Besides the huge fuel saving potential, reductions in emissions and noise will revolutionize the RTG container handling business.

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