Landstrom (shore-side electricity): Efficient energy supply for dormant ships

When ships are in the harbour, they need a supply of electricity. This is usually provided by outmoded diesel generators, which also pollute city air – especially in inland ports – and emit a lot of CO2. The “Landstrom” (shore-side electricity) project in Cologne aims to offer a solution. “SmartCity Cologne” and Cologne’s harbour operator HGK are providing freight ships in the Rheinau harbour with free shore-side electrical connections. This means that polluting diesel generators can be turned off and harmful emissions reduced.

“SmartCity” Cologne has got the boats in its harbours hooked. Since 2015, twelve moorings in Cologne’s cargo port at Rheinau have been fitted with standardised power connections. There are three connection points for river cruise vessels under construction in the historic harbour and three more are planned for the Deutz harbour directly opposite.

Since the availability of the electric hook-up means the boats can turn off their environmentally damaging diesel generators when they are in dock, emissions of fine particulates and nitrogen oxide are reduced, as well as noise pollution. That’s good news, and not just for the local residents: CO2 savings already amount to around 1,000 tonnes per year.

Engine for progress:

  • more than 1,000 tonnes of CO2 saved per year
  • reduction in the emission of fine particulates and nitrogen oxide
  • reduction in noise pollution
  • development of a highly transferable smart-payment system

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Photo: RheinEnergie

Boats in the harbour at Niehl, Cologne. The floating giants haul out here for several months to undergo maintenance work... 

Shore-side electricity at Niehl’s winter moorings

Boats put in at the harbour in Niehl, Cologne, for several months to undergo maintenance work. There, ten out of thirty vessels are being supplied with power via a shore-side electricity test installation. Since boats are renovated here over the winter, they may use the service for up to five months. This means that an especially large amount of CO2 can be saved.

Soon, the trial will be complete and the system optimised, meaning that the shore-side electricity service can be gradually expanded at Niehl’s harbour. It is the objective to hook up all 30 of the boats berthed here to the onshore supply very soon. The cost of the shore-side electricity compares favourably with that of the power produced by on-board diesel generators.

Simple payment system helps to overcome obstacles

The payment system that has been newly developed is also particularly innovative and it is hoped that this will make it even easier for the vessels to switch over to onshore power. The state-of-the-art payment system sends a code by SMS to the boat’s crew so that the charging post can be activated and the account settled. Other port operators are already interested in the system.

Photo: RheinEnergie

“In terms of our activities in the ‘SmartCity Cologne’ programme, the shore-side electricity project is right at the top. Just in Cologne, there are more than 10,000 ship movements each year, many of those right in the heart of the city. So it’s important that we can offer these vessels convenient access to clean energy. Through “RheinWerke”, our joint venture with Düsseldorf’s municipal utilities company, we are now working quickly to expand the service.”

Dr Dieter Steinkamp, Chairman of RheinEnergie

Partners and sponsors

  • RheinEnergie AG

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