Sustainable Infrastructure Project The Master Plan for the Po River. By Giuseppe Pace University of Ghent, Centre for Sustainable Mobility and Spatial Planning (AMRP). NETLIPSE Network Meeting Vilnius, 17th & 18th May 2010. Summary Transport Sustainability and Inland Navigation
The Master Plan for the Po River
By Giuseppe Pace
University of Ghent, Centre for Sustainable Mobility and Spatial Planning (AMRP)
NETLIPSE Network Meeting
Vilnius, 17th & 18th May 2010
Sustainability debate has been threatened by the many different interpretation of the concept.
In transport, sustainability is a pragmatic framework that attempts to maintain/increase the output from transport and to reduce the energy inputs, particularly in terms of the use of non-renewable resources.
Travel can be broken into three components: volume, distance, and efficiency
The first two are combined for measuring performance and the third is related to modes, travel time and price, use of resources, technology and organisational factors.
For example, freight sector efficiency can be increased through the use of logistics, flat organisational structures, new forms of handling, minimisation of warehouse requirements, and spatial organisation to reduce distribution costs.
However, to increase efficiency could bring to increase volume/distances travelled, that is, transport intensity.
To reduce intensity, interventions are through reducing travel distance, increasing load factors,; and reducing consumption of fossil fuel.
Sustainability in transport concerns systems, policies, and operates fairly and efficiently, promotes equity within and between successive generations, limits emissions and waste, and encourages the use of renewable resources.
We could say that sustainable transport should use the less polluting ad consuming transport mode for each sector of activity in the most efficient and integrated way.
The inland navigation is considered a sustainable, affordable, economic and environmental friendly solution for freight and passenger transport.
Thanks to its low energy consumptions and polluting emissions, inland navigation has lower externalities than other terrestrial transports
It has still wide growth margins, although it’s not able alone, similarly to the rail, to bring passengers and freight directly to destination, and it’s completely environmental friendly, especially in a strong growth perspective.
Environmental organisations consider it as follow:
Transport over water is a relatively clean method of moving goods from one point to another. But the development of rivers for navigation — by dredging, channelling, and straightening — often leads to destruction of river courses and negative impacts on people (WWF).
The current fleet (barges, pushers and ferries) is technologically obsolete and non-efficient from the energy side and highly polluting (liquid and gas emissions and vibrations)
An uncontrolled increase in the inland navigation can alter natural river function and habitat
Improving ship technology
River information services (RIS): Information services for river navigation increase the safety, efficiency, and competitiveness of river transport.
Co-modality: Smooth and efficient connections from ships to other modes of transportation increase the quality and competitiveness of inland waterway transport.
Improve engine efficiency and reduce use of non-renewable fuels. Adapt vessels to the conditions of particular rivers and to different needs (high sped for passengers and high capacity for freight). For instance, low draught ship design allows for operation on inland waterways without the draught restrictions of conventional vessels.
Vessels have a relevant energy consumption and it is often impossible to reduce operation speed or to use exclusively renewable energy
It is possible to reduce energy consumption and polluting emissions, and increasing the use of renewable energy
Hybridisation offers the following opportunities:
Maximisation of the hydraulic efficiency: Using more than one helix improves the manoeuvrability and allows to reduce travel time without increasing the speed (and waves and vibrations). Using e-driven helixes increases efficiency and manoeuvrability, as well as combustion engines (CNG-HCNG-H²) allows to maximise the main engine efficiency, by collecting also dispersed engine heating through a Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC).
Reducing emissions by using gas fuels, such as LNG, CNG, Hydrogen
Secondary activities for producing renewable energy on-board, such as photovoltaic panels on the roofs and/or an eolic turbine. Such energy is dedicated to reduce the consumption of accessory electric systems on-board, and avoiding the use of noisy and non-efficient engines.
Major constraint to the renewable energy exploitation in transport is the absence of infrastructure for charging vehicles and ships
The infrastructure building (improvement of navigation and structure for fuelling and charging) should be contemporary to the improvement of the inland navigation services and operators’ fleet
Public and private must converge on a share vision and strategy, aiming to increase the system capacity and to stimulate innovation.
Green corridors? Strategic field for developing inland navigation, through a logistic and supply chain approach.
Energy Islands? positioned strategically along existing infrastructure, such as roads and inland
waterways to provide a new sustainable fuel infrastructure.
Charging stations and energy production areas
Transfer areas with other transport modes
New wharfs and docks and logistic platforms “Energy-friendly”,
Non physical infrastructures:
River Information Service
Started as a Plan for improving navigability on a canal from Mantua to Adriatic sea and Venice Port – and funded in the TEN-T annual programme 2009
A new technology option was included in the planned activities
It has become a relevant opportunity for introducing sustainability, by:
Stimulating the use of renewable energy in the transport sector in one of the most industrialised regions of Europe.
Sustaining the Po river navigation fleet renewal and development
Revitalising some inland ports through the creation of electrical islands (e-islands) where ships and land vehicles can recharge and the introduction of zero-emission zones.
Creating a financial tool in order to sustain fleet renewal of private operators through the introduction of e-credits.
• Building of strategically placed charging stations along the river for e-power, natural gas, hydrogen, etc…
• Connecting directly these stations to photovoltaic energy production fields
• Organising and installing a payment system with e-credits through smart cards and/or credit cards and/or mobile phones
• Organising a “cold-ironing” service for vessels in the port areas
• Connecting vessels, ports and charging stations to the “River Information Service”, for e-charging stations information (with the option to define a call service for the vessels e-charging and/or battery substitution)
• Hybridisation of the vessel’s propulsion systems (prototypes with homologation, new hybrid ships, existing vessels retrofitting)
• Creation of a leasing tool for the renewal of the vessels fleet with new hybrid vessels
• Piloting new inland navigation services on the river Po (high-speed waterbuses, cross-river ferries, charging and/or fuelling on the move, inland container ships)
The Benefits of the lease company
Through a single actor hybrid ships can be purchased at lower unit prices - combined purchasing power.
The technology is proven but still new in the marine sector. A single technology provider allows controlled feedback of this new technology through shared operational experience.
Planned maintenance can be shared over a fleet of ships rather than a single ship owned by a single operator and improved bargaining position helps in reduction of costs for spare parts.
If the Lease company is financially underwritten by governments than the introduction of private capital is facilitated more easily – Sharing of capital investment risk.
The lease company also provides the alternative fuel and infrastructure and is a system supplier. The larger fleet fuel consumption allows for improved bargaining position with alternative fuel suppliers, such as Air Products / Linde (BOC) / Air Liquide.
In Po River case, contacts have been taken with Banca Etica, interested to finance environmental-friendly projects, and three public- public/private and private options are going to be analysed.
• Port Authorities
• Regions (Lombardia, Veneto)
• Federations (builders, shipbuilders, maritime, etc…)
• Energy producers
• Energy distributors
• Fuel distributors
• Port operators
• Transport companies
• Touristic operators
• Passengers operators
• Logistic companies
• Battery producers
• Mechanical industries
• ITS providers
• Banks and venture capitals