The EU ports industry is currently one of the economic pillars of the European community. Although being hit by the economic recession caused by COVID-19’s restrictions, on average, around 74% of goods imported and exported, and 37% of exchanges with outside entities, go through seaports.
However, these vital infrastructures are responsible for a significant rise in environmental impacts in terms of carbon emissions, soil & water pollution, and loss of biodiversity, among others. Not in vain, maritime transport in the EU accounts for approximately 13% of its transport GHG emissions. This fact puts the greening of the port’s emitting activities as a necessary step to achieve the ambitious goals for 2030 (55% reduction) and 2050 (net zero).
In parallel, the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, flowing from the European Green Deal, sets as a flagship the achievement of zero-emission ports, becoming “clean energy hubs for integrated electricity systems, hydrogen and other low-carbon fuels, and testbeds for waste reuse and the circular economy”.
Consequently, the European Commission (EC) is proposing measures to incentivise the deployment of renewable and low-carbon fuels and feeding stationed vessels with renewable power instead of fossil energy, incentivising the development and use of new, cleaner, and quieter vessels, greening port services and operations, optimisation of port calls, and through wider use of smart traffic management.
Many specialized collaborative plans have been developed, increasing Europe’s potential towards a greener future. One of these has especially taken the lead as one of the most promising ways of exploiting an untapped potential of the energy industry in the following decade: PORTS 2030.
Activities such as sharing findings, unifying objectives, creating synergies and preparing the next generations, will become a top priority for the European Economic Zone (EEZ) in the next few years to ensure a steadily increasing and reliable path towards Europe 2050’s goals, tackling challenges such as co-creation of circular-by-design operative and business models, as well as identifying the social and technological challenges associated to meeting the Green Deal priorities.
This is the framework of the SEANERGY project, which aims at supporting the creation of the best possible setting and conditions for the EU energy transition, through the development and implementation of sustainability and an educational path centered on the port ecosystem.
Objectives and Impact
Kicked off in October 2022, the SEANERGY Project aims to provide a solution to this challenge through the creation of the SEANERGY Master Plan (MP), which is meant to be an aggregator of information and guidelines that will allow all the port industry’s stakeholders, regardless of their geographical context, to assess, plan and execute the necessary activities towards transforming ports into clean energy hubs.
The MP will be therefore the main reference for all port institutions approaching the preparation of environmental and energy planning documents.
Activities such as training, reskilling, awareness spreading and communication channels creation, will set the basis of the green port transitioning, creating spaces of dialogue and teaching among all agents of the industry (academia, private and public), which will boost the development and integration of these technologies, along with prepared professionals that will be able to manage and implement them promptly, securely, and efficiently.
Parallelly, the Master Plan will consider as many variables as possible, such as the resources to be shared in the port region, for example hydrogen, waste, water, electricity, carbon dioxide and steam. Therefore, the Master Plan will identify them, selecting the most promising synergy scenarios between environment, cooperation, and business viability.
Complementarily, the project will develop a SEANERGY Handbook (HB) which will serve as a tool for Master Plan users to help them navigate through the information through video modules, explaining the key relevant aspects of each section, as well as supporting the information’s adaptation to the regional context.
Thanks to these tools, the SEANERGY project will guide all EU ports toward a zero-emission transition.
UNDERSTANDING THE CURRENT EU PORTS’ SITUATION AND STAKEHOLDERS
WP1 will develop the existing framework under which stakeholders operate at individual, collaborative and policy levels, pinning down technical, social, economic, environmental, and political aspects that constrain current efforts towards the clean energy & fuel transition.
WP 2 (Current Stage)
GAP ANALYSIS OF THE EU PORT CLEAN ENERGY TRANSITION
WP2 will build upon WP1’s information by identifying what information, skills and resources are missing at industrial and governmental level to have the necessary tools for a successful green port transformation.
To do so, this work package will establish a series of workshops, surveys and co-creation activities that will foster the obtention of the stakeholders’ perspective to understand the gaps in preparation that organizations need to be an active member of the transition.
WP 3 (Current Stage)
CREATION OF THE SEANERGY MASTER PLAN
WP3 will take information obtained from the previous two work packages to construct a suitable Master Plan that will be able to set the consortium’s and external stakeholders’ goals and objectives during and after the project, by providing all the necessary tools and content that will aid them to choose the right path towards a greener energy & fuel operation in port.
In parallel, this work package will integrate the Master Plan’s information into an Industry Academy program that will foster the preparation of future port professionals for current and still unknown challenges, while also giving them the opportunity to put their knowledge to the test by having a real-life experience on the decision-making process for the green port transformation.
SEANERGY MASTER PLAN IMPLEMENTATION
WP4 will uptake the task of developing the Handbook that will act as a guiding and explicative hand of the Master Plan’s information and contents. Therefore, this work package will focus on the development of the Handbook modules and activities that will allow organizations to follow along the Master Plan’s recommendations.
COMMUNICATION, DISSEMINATION & EXPLOITATION
WP5 will focus on carrying out communication, dissemination and exploitation activities to boost the project’s goals and objectives to develop a clean energy & fuel revolution of the port industry along the value chain, by distributing and fostering the presentation of the Master Plan’s content to all stakeholders throughout Europe and even beyond. Fit-for-purpose dissemination and communication activities, synergies and exploitation plans will set the establishment of a beyond the project reach of the Master Plan.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT & COORDINATION
WP6 will be dedicated to the project’s management, coordination and monitoring of activities that will enable the efficient progress of the project, meeting the contractual obligations and the quality expectancies of the consortium’s activities and produced outputs.